Lichen planus is oftendiagnosed by a GP or dentist examining the affected area.
Your GP may be able to make a diagnosis based on the characteristic rash.However, lichen planus can be mistaken for other skin conditions, such as eczema ,which also causes the skin to become red, flaky and itchy.
If your doctoris unable to make a confident diagnosis by examining your skin, they may want to take a small skin sample ( biopsy ), which will be examined under a microscope.
If a skin biopsy is required, you'll be given a local anaesthetic to numb the affected area so you don't feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
A dentist or doctor can diagnose oral lichen planus by looking at the inside of your mouth.
A biopsy may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis. A sampleofmouth tissue will be removed so that it can be examined under a microscope.As with lichen planus of the skin, you'll be given a local anaesthetic to numb the pain.
Lichen planus is a non-infectious, itchy rash that can affect many areas of the body.
The symptoms of lichen planus vary, depending on which area of the body is affected. Affected areas can include the skin, mouth, penis and vulva.
The cause of lichen planus is unknown. It's thought to be related to the immune system, or an abnormal response of the immune system to certain medicines.
If you have lichen planus of the skin, your GP will examine the affected area and may be able to make a diagnosis based on the characteristic rash.
There's no cure for lichen planus, so treatments aim to ease the symptoms and clear the rash. Mild lichen planus doesn't require treatment.
Complications of lichen planus may include discoloured skin and, in some cases, erosive lichen planus may develop into certain types of cancer.
Dale Hodgson was diagnosed with oral lichen planus when she was 44, and has learnt to adapt her lifestyle in order to cope.
Bridget Nelson was diagnosed with a painful, erosive form of lichen planus that affected her mouth and vulva.