Lichen Planus Causes

Lichen Planus Causes

What is Lichen Planus?

Lichen planus is a skin condition characterized by the presence of purple or red papules. These papules, simply solid bumps, are often no more than a few millimeters in width and are known for their flat edges, almost like that of a polygon. They appear in wide patches across the inside of the wrists, forearms and across the lower back. In these places, they often go ignored and clear up within three to six months. But when they appear in the mouth or vagina, they can be particularly itchy, uncomfortable and difficult to treat.

Known Causes

The one cause that has been established is reaction to various chemicals, though lichen planus is not categorized as an allergic reaction but rather a secondary disorder that appears when the body is taxed, poisoned or weakened. This is supported by the common occurrence of lichen planus in people who use drugs containing—or ingest materials containing—gold, bismuth and arsenic. Quinacrine, a drug used to kill human parasitic infestations, is known to cause lichen planus when used long-term.

Other Theorized Causes

Lichen planus does not respond to antibiotic or antiviral medications, suggesting it is not an infection. Antihistamines and corticosteroids do help decrease the swelling but are by no means a cure, suggesting it’s not an allergy. It is for these reasons that it’s thought to be a functional disorder that arises due to overall poor health. Case studies have noted that this disorder is commonly found in individuals with high levels of stress, poor diets and other ongoing illnesses, or who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and medications for blood pressure and hypertension issues. All of these factors are known causes for a drop in the body’s ability to function normally and maintain a healthy immune system. To that end, it’s believed all these factors could very well be causes of lichen planus.

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