Lichen Planus, an obstinate skin disorder has baffled not only the patients but also the practitioners equally. The cases of Lichen Planus have been observed all over the world, irrespective of the race, skin color and culture. The medical field today finds little help for this chronic disease. Fortunately, homeopathy, the fast growing alternative medicine has a definite, promising treatment for Lichen Planus.
It is a long standing (chronic), recurring, non-allergic, non-infectious, non-contagious disease of the skin, of which the exact cause is not yet fully understood.
It can affect skin, oral mucosa, tongue, scalp, genitals and nails. However, it is less likely that it affects all the areas as stated, at the same time. It has a tendency to relapse after some months or years. Females are more frequently affected as compared to the male counterpart, however, uncommon to find it in children. Over 1.9% of the total population is affected by Lichen Planus.
Signs and symptoms:
The typical appearance of the Lichen Planus eruption is round or irregular shape, raised slightly above the skin level, brown or pinkish or black in color.
Commonly Affected Parts in Lichen Planus
Lichen Planus largely affects skin. It may also affect mouth (gums, tongue, palate) (oral Lichen Planus), the scalp, nails, or the genitals (glans, penis). It could affect one or more of the said body parts. It is not a rule that every patient with Lichen Planus will have all the said areas affected. In males it could affect the glans of penis and in females the vulva or vagina. It can
be said that more areas affected, more difficult to treat. Also, experience says that the oral or genital Lichen Planus is more difficult to treat as compared to that on the skin. Also, Lichen planus affecting the scalp when leads to scarring, may lead to permanent hair loss; which is difficult to treat.
Lichen Planus and Hepatitis:
Some of the latest studies have shown a co-association of Lichen Planus with a rare variety of Hepatitis-C. It may be noted that the exact connection and causative link has not been established between the two entities. It may be noted that patients with Hepatitis C have some proneness to develop Lichen Planus; the reverse is not true.
Causes of Lichen Planus
Lichen Planus is found to be an immunologically mediated disease. The exact cause of Lichen Planus is not very clearly understood. Some triggers have been found which are clinically found to be responsible for Lichen Planus. It is one of those conditions where the exact cause remains unknown till the date. There are theories. In some cases there are obvious links with the facts such as
1. Modern Medicines
Certain modern medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain killers (NSAID), antihypertensive medicines, amalgamated dental filling, etc are known to induce Lichen Planus, which has a tendency to persist despite the discontinuation of the said medicines.
It may be of interest to list the common modern medicines which are know to induce Lichen Planus:
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)TetracyclineCaptoprilPropranololSulfonamideDapsoneFurosemideChloroquinePenicillamineMethyldopaEnalaprilAllopurinol (anti-gout medicine)
2. Chemical Contact
Contact with certain chemicals (paraphenylenediamine), drugs (Arsenic compounds, certain metals such as Gold, Bismuth, Quinacrine), exposure to light by photography development) etc.
3. Stress Leads to Lichen Planus
In our in-depth studies, we have observed that certain intense and prolonged emotional stress such as anxiety, shock, traumatic childhood, sadness; disappointment, failure, humiliation, etc. often initiate the process of Lichen Planus. Intense stress is likely to trigger some immunological processes which lead to development of Lichen Planus. The exact mechanism is not yet understood. Stress has been found to be an important trigger in many cases, but not all.
4. Genetic Causes
Hereditary tendency. We have observed Lichen Planus running in family. However, it is not a rule that if you have Lichen Planus, your children will necessarily have it. Also, it is not a rule that every patient having Lichen Planus must have their parents or relatives the same disease. It is observed that there is some autoimmune disease such as Lichen Planus, eczema, cancer, psoriasis, etc. in the family, suggestive of genetic link.
Lichen Planus Symptoms
1.Lichen Planus symptoms may appear on skin, nails, mouth, scalp or genitals in one or more of the following ways.
2.Round, irregular, thickened, flat-topped, dark skin lesions
3.Pink, gray, brown or reddish eruptions, raised above skin level, with roughness and mild scaling in some cases.
4.Slow, gradual onset
5.Rough, oily look of lesions
6.Intense itching or no itching
7.New lesions of Lichen planus come up in areas where skin is scratched or injured. This is called as Koebner’s phenomenon
8.Bleeding may be present on scratching
9.Oral Lichen planus presents as white streaks on the mucosa of mouth, tongue and gums. There may be ulcers in the oral mucosa, any part of mouth. The ulceration can be mild or extensive.
10.Genital Lichen planus shows white streaks or ulcers on vulva, vagina, prepuce or shaft of penis. (Photo of male genital will open in new window.) Genital Lichen planus in both sexes can be painful.
11.Lichen Planus of nails may present with ridged, deformed nails
12.Burning in mouth while eating spicy food
Diagnosis of Lichen Planus
Lichen Planus can be diagnosed clinically by experienced eyes. Lesions on the skin have typical look as described elsewhere on this pages, and their location such as legs, back, mouth, scalp, genitals, nails, or elsewhere (more or less in this order) is important for diagnosis. The typical skin lesions of Lichen Planus are grayish, slivery, pinkish eruptions about 1mm to 4 mm in size; oval or round or irregular in shape, scaly and itchy in nature.
Sometimes the Lichen Planus eruptions, especially in early states, may resemble to some other diseases like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, candidiasis (in mouth), leukoplakia (mouth), apthous ulcers (mouth).
In case of doubt, or to confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy would help. Biopsy is more often indicated in cases of oral and scalp Lichen Planus. Also, Lichen Planus of nails alone could resemble psoriatic nails or fungus infection of nails. Clinically trained eyes can differentiate in most cases.
Lichen Planus on the scalp may show some scarring by the time patient approaches for treatment. At times, you need to do a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis for scalp Lichen Planus. There may be associated patches of hair loss called alopecia areata.
Skin, Mouth, Nails, Scalp, Genitals:
Lichen Planus largely affects skin. It may also affect mouth (oral Lichen Planus), the scalp, nails, or the genitals. It could of more of the said body parts. Is is not a rule that every patient with Lichen Planus will have all the said areas affected. In males it could affect the glans of penis and in females the vulva or vagina. It can be said that more areas affected, more difficult to treat. Also, experience says that the oral or genital Lichen Planus is more difficult to treat as compared to that on the skin.
Under the microscope:
It is of less importance to the patients to know how Lichen Planus tissues look when seen under the microscope.
Lichen planus skin under microscopeAt times, one also observes the Lichen Planus eruptions appearing along the line of a scratch mark, called as Koebner’s phenomenon. It has an affinity for the genitals are involved. In males, the glans ; while in females the vulva may be affected.
The nails when affected tend to become deformed. In short, Lichen Planus affecting the skin, mouth (Oral Lichen Planus) and vaginal LP are some of the most common variants. When the oral mucosa or the genitals are affected, this condition is often neglected, reported late or incorrectly diagnosed. Lichen Planus affecting the food pipe (esophagus) is not a commonly encountered condition. However, some cases have been reported at some institutes.
All variants of Lichen Planus respond very well to homeopathic treatment. It can be said with confidence that Lichen Planus is curable using homeopathy. Homeopathy offers excellent results in Lichen Planus of the skin, mouth and genitals; in this order.
Homeopathy Treatment for Lichen Planus
Though Lichen planus appears on skin, mouth, genitals, nails or scalp; its roots are found in the immune system, which is governed by some genetic factors. It means, the treatment for Lichen planus has to be aimed by correcting or improving the immune system. If this is done, the disease would be treated or cured for a long time. If the treatment is done superficially by applying cortisone or such immunosuppressive medicine, the disease will get elevated superficially only to re-surface as soon as the effect of the medicine would be over.
Homeopathy offers research proven and highly effective treatment for Lichen Planus which has been scientifically documented. Contrary to the conventional treatment, which is governed by the use of cortisone, homeopathic treatment is amazingly curative, safe and longer lasting. We have researched on Planus for over two decades.
The Homeopathy Treatment
The homeopathic treatment for Lichen Planus is based on the individual case study of the patient’s disease, its cause, its spread, the area affected, the genetic tendency, mindset, etc. The treatment plans thus designed is addressed towards correcting the immune system, in turn treating Lichen Planus from within.
The duration of treatment:
The total length of treatment varies form case to case, depending of the following factors:
1.Duration of Lichen Planus
2.Areas affected (Skin, mouth, genitals, nails, scalp)
3.Extent of spread (Only skin or only mouth or skin with mouth, combination of parts, etc.)
4.Previous medication (Extensive use of oral cortisone may delay the course of treatment)
5.General health and associated diseases
One may expect a definite change in about three to five months, depending on the extent. The total length of medication may be anything between six months to two years or longer.
Why homeopathy for Lichen Planus?
The major benefits of homeopathy could be summarized as under:
1.It offers excellent treatment which has a success rate of over 85%
2.It offers immuno-correction hence gives deep-level healing
3.It offers long-lasting cure instead of temporary.
4.It is absolutely harmless, safe and free from any toxic effect.
Is the treatment (and its duration) different if Lichen Planus affects skin, mouth, genitals?
Well, the scope of improvement and the time required for the treatment of Lichen Planus also depend on its location. Experience shows that LP on skin is relatively easy to treat, as compared to one in the mouth or genitals. If one has it on mouth, genitals and skin, it is all the more difficult to treat. Similarly, it would take longer it is multi-location. The medicines are relatively different for skin LP or one in the mouth, genitals, scalp or nails.
Other Treatment Options for Lichen Planus
3.Immune suppresive medicines
6.Lichen Planus Curability Test
7.More about Homeopathy
What is Lichen Planopilaris?
Lichen Planopilaris is also known as follicular Lichen Planus or Lichen Planus follicularis. It is a variant of Lichen Planus (LP) of the scalp which leads to scarred alopecia followed by permanent hair loss on the scalp. It is an autoimmune disorder.
(Hair follicle is a small tubular cavity containing the root of a hair; small muscles and sebaceous glands are associated with them)
The histological hallmark of Lichen Planopilaris is a chronic per follicular and interface dermatitis that affects the hair follicle infundibulum (the segment that extends from the entrance of the sebaceous gland duct to the follicular orifice) and isthmus (the short segment that extends from the insertion of the erector pili muscle to the entrance of the sebaceous gland duct). This leads to destruction of basal keratinocytes in the hair follicle.
Symptoms of Lichen Planopilaris:
Lichen Planopilaris mainly affects middle aged people, more common in men. This type of LP exhibits primarily as skin flaking, hair loss and pruritis (severe itching).
It is manifested by tiny red spiny papules around a cluster of hairs. Sometimes even blistering occurs in the lesions. In some cases, no follicular scaling or inflammation is present but bald areas of scarring slowly appear.
It can be multi-focal or central alopecia patches with follicular hyperkeratosis or hardening and erythema or redness at the hair-bearing margin.
Lichen planopilaris on scalp Convincing cases of Lichen Planopilaris include a combination of typical Lichen Planus lesions and scarring alopecia. Those cases presenting only as scarring alopecia of scalp require histological co-relation (i.e. biopsy) for exact diagnosis.
Research say’s that up to 40% of scarred alopecia is due to Lichen Planopilaris.
In conventional therapy the treatment generally comprises of short tapered courses of prednisone in combination therapy with retinoids or anti-malarial drugs.
Other options include psoralen-UV-A, systemic and topical steroids, etc but its efficacy for the treatment is not proved.
Scope of homeopathy:
Lichen Planopilaris should be treated as quickly as possible to avoid permanent hair loss. Treatment is case- dependant, as severity of symptoms, extent of the lesions and response to treatment vary from individual to individual.
If not treated in early stages, it may lead to permanent loss of hair and in such cases homeopathy is helpful to stop the further progress of the disease.
Homeopathy is strongly recommended in the initial stages of Lichen Planopilaris wherein we can help to control the further progress of the disease. It is not possible to grow hair on the scalp which has scarred skin. Good control of further deterioration is also considered as significant treatment using homeopathy.