The symptoms of lichen planus vary depending on the areas affected. Typical signs and symptoms include:
- Purplish, flat-topped bumps, most often on the inner forearm, wrist or ankle, but sometimes on the external genitals
- Blisters that may break to form scabs or crusts
- White spots or patches in the mouth — inside the cheeks or on the gums, lips or tongue
- Painful oral or vaginal ulcers
- Hair loss and scalp discoloration
- Nail damage or loss
When to see a doctor
If tiny bumps or a rash-like condition appears on your skin for no apparent reason, such as a known allergic reaction or contact with poison ivy, see your doctor. Also, see your doctor if you experience any signs or symptoms associated with lichen planus of the mouth, genitals, scalp or nails. Because a number of skin and mucosal conditions can cause lesions and discomfort, it's best to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis.
Feb. 22, 2013
- Le Cleach L, et al. Lichen planus. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366:723.
- Sharma A, et al. Lichen planus: An update and review. Cutis. 2012;90:17.
- Usatine RP, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of lichen planus. American Family Physician. 2011;84:53.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2013: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-08373-7..00002-9&isbn=978-0-323-08373-7&about=true&uniqId=343863096-23. Accessed Dec. 28, 2012.
- Bradford J, et al. Management of vulvovaginal lichen planus: A new approach. Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease. 2013;17:28.
- Parashar P. Oral lichen planus. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2011;44:89.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Dec.28, 2012.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 10, 2013.
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