Lichen sclerosus: an often-overlooked genital skin condition in patients with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

In women Lichen Sclerosus, which is an inflammatory immune system meditated skin condition affecting the genital area, is frequently associated with an autoimmune disease, particularly autoimmune thyroid disease. This condition affects mostly adult women, and is characterized by smooth or sometimes wrinkled white patches on the skin, vaginal pain and discomfort (especially during intercourse), itching, redness, and bleeding or tearing of the lesions. Children and adolescents are much less likely to suffer from this condition. Many women with this condition also have a strong family history of autoimmunity. Research has shown that most women suffering from Lichen Sclerosus have at least 1 autoimmune condition such as pernicious anemia, an autoimmune thyroid disease. While Lichen Sclerosus affects mostly women, men can rarely be affected as well. However, there is no connection between autoimmunity and Lichen Sclerosus in men. Because of the connection that exists between Lichen Sclerosus and autoimmune disorders in women, you need to have your doctor test you for autoimmune thyroid disease and possibly other autoimmune conditions if you have been diagnosed with Lichen Sclerosus. Similarly if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ Disease or another autoimmune condition and you are suffering from genital symptoms, you need to address the possible connection between your autoimmune condition and the possibility of Lichen Sclerosus with your gynecologist so that you get proper therapy for your genital skin lesions.

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