Lichen sclerosus is a chronic skin disorder that most commonly affects post-menopausal women. However, it is sometimes identified among pre-menopausal women, and, even more rarely, among males. When found in males, the disease is known as balanitis xerotica obliterans.
Lichen sclerosus is characterized by skin changes of the external genitalia (i.e., vulva, head of the penis), although other parts of the body may also be affected. Intense itching often accompanies attacks of lichen sclerosus. The disorder is not contagious nor is it a sexually transmitted disease. In the recent past, a genetic component for lichen sclerosus has been recognized. In addition, many clinical researchers believe that it is a disorder of the immunological system. The understanding of the causes of this disorder is still incomplete. Lichen sclerosus can develop concurrently with other conditions.