Lichen planus in mild or severe form does not look attractive, especially in external parts of the body like the palm, feet, forearm, wrist, or in and around the mouth. It is, however, not infectious, which means it cannot be transmitted from person to person. The appearance of a person with a lichen planus can attract stigmatization as though it is a terminal ailment. However, well scientific research shows otherwise. It is also not a form of cancer.
Lichen Planus can be traced to many reasons because it cannot be streamlined to a specific course of action. Likely triggers can be chemicals like mercury nickel, reaction to drug usage, and allergies in products. It can also be an auto-immune response, where possible recurrence is common. It is advisable that if rashes or blisters persist longer than two years, it is necessary to consult a doctor, as symptoms should usually clear off by themselves with little or no treatment. When and if affected, it is unlikely for this condition to affect your general health.
Lichen Planus and Auto-Immunity
There are over 100 auto-immune diseases. It includes Lupus, multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lichen Planus. Lichen planus, like an auto-immune disease, is not the most common. What are auto-immune diseases?
Auto-immune diseases occur when the immune system starts attacking the human body, which it is expected to protect. As strange as this is, it remains unclear why the body acts this way, but the immune system usually corrects itself with little or no requirement for treatment. However, in severe cases of autoimmunity, the symptoms become unbearable, making it difficult to live with such conditions. While some auto-immune diseases go into remission and disappear, others flare off after a while and can be chronic, i.e., They last a lifetime or almost the entire lifespan of the person.
Lichen Planus is a chronic auto-immune disease. It occurs when the body antigen and antibodies act reverse by attacking the mucosal or cutaneous (skin). It is, however, not a severe form of autoimmunity. Its symptoms are usually characterized by pruritic, polygonal inflammation in the formation of plaques with blisters or lesions.
Suppose you have any symptoms of Lichen planus which refuse to recede, and the condition becomes unbearable. In that case, it is better to talk or visit your primary health doctor, a visit to a specialist- dermatologist, dentist, gynecologist to confirm the diagnosis with a test like a skin biopsy, along with other tests like:
Test to find the allergens that trigger an auto-immune response
he presence of a Lichen Planus can be a sign of Hepatitis C. It would be better to detect the viral infection because hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer
Oral lichen Planus can occur in various forms affecting various organs and tissue in and around the mouth. It is an inflammatory condition that begins when the immune system attacks the oral mucous membranes. It affects parts like the upper lip, lower lip, gums, palate on either side of the inside cheek tongue and can be marked out with white lacy patches that do not cause discomfort and red lesions that can be swollen bumps with open sores. Oral lichen planus is the most common form of Lichen planus, and in situations where it occurs, brushing the teeth can lead to bleeding. In addition, painful patches on the tongues can make speaking very difficult.
The skin or the cutaneous layer is the most extended layer covering the body. Aside from making the human body beautiful, it protects the internal organ and serves as a barrier to foreign or hazardous substances. This function, when counteractive, makes the body system exhibit characteristics of minor, many-sided, flat-topped rashes on the arms and legs in purple or pink bumps.
Vulvar lichen planus occurs in middle-aged women in and around areas of the vulva. Though this part of the body is not typically seen. A person with this condition might begin to have low self-esteem, leading to possible depression. Vulva P. can exist as annular lesions- which are ring-like structures with white patches. The single or multi-faceted lesion usually ranges between 1-10mm with no profound symptom associated with lichen planus. Where symptoms exist, redness and thickness of the skin membrane can occur. This could further lead to ulceration of the vulva or the formation of leather-like skin. Like other localized forms of lichen planus, vulva lichen planus is non-infectious. It cannot, therefore, be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Though the site where red blisters occur is often accompanied by pain, making sexual intercourse difficult. It is advisable to receive treatment before re-engaging in such an act.
Something of this sort occurs in men and is known as Lichen Planus of the Penis. The mode of action is generally known as Genital Lichen Planus.
Lichen planus on its own, no matter where it is related to the body, usually clears off on its own. It has become burdensome to deal with oral antihistamines, and topical creams containing steroids can be applied where appropriate. The use of Immunosuppressive can slow down the negative feedback thereby, reducing the immune response.
Phototherapy is another viable alternative in cases where the earlier mentioned fail. This treatment lasts between 2-3 weeks and works with Ultraviolet B rays that only penetrate the upper skin layer; hence, it is not harmful to the body.
Lichen Planus and Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic is a disease known to weaken the immune system generally. A weakened immune system makes the body tired and easily vulnerable to infection. So, people with symptoms like headache, running nose, sneezing and inflammation need to be continuously evaluated to determine if Covid-19 is a risk factor. As of now, there is no available study to relate the occurrence of Covid-19 and Lichen P. directly. It would be interesting to find out through more research the correlation between the two rather than just relying on coincidence.