Erosive vulvar lichen planus: retrospective review of characteristics and outcomes in 113 patients seen in a vulvar specialty clinic

Colleen M Kennedy, Rudolph P Galask
Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2007, 52 (1): 43-7

OBJECTIVE: To describe the characteristics of women diagnosed with erosive vulvar lichen planus and the outcome of treatment utilized by a single practitioner.

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective review of 113 women with erosive vulvar lichen planus. Data were abstracted, including demographic information, medical history, vulvar symptom scores and treatments utilized. Dyspareunia and vulvar symptom scores before and following treatment were compared.

RESULTS: The mean age at presentation for women with lichen planus was 50 years. Comorbid medical and vulvar conditions were commonly noted. Sexually active women noted an improvement in dyspareunia symptom score and report of pain-free intercourse. Other symptoms described by women at the first visit included: burning (n = 76), itching (69), pain (43) and abnormal discharge (71). While these symptoms were significantly reduced at the final visit (p < 0.05 for each), the presence of vulvovaginal symptoms commonly waxed and waned in this group. Overall, 33% had resolution of symptoms, and 19% had improvement without resolution of symptoms.

CONCLUSION: This cohort extends our understanding of the characteristics of women with erosive vulvar lichen planus and emphasizes its characteristically chronic course. While the recognition of erosive vulvar lichen planus may prevent unnecessary medical and surgical procedures, continued efforts to improve treatment should be investigated.

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