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Lichen Planus Causes

Lichen planus is a condition that affects the hair, skin, nails and mucous membranes. It usually appears as itchy, flat, purplish bumps on the skin. In the vagina, mouth and other areas covered by mucous membranes, lichen planus forms lacy white patches, with painful sores in some cases. The condition can cause significant itching in the affected areas.

In accordance with the journal Oral Diseases, the global pooled prevalence of oral lichen planus was 1.01%. The highest prevalence was reported from Europe (1.43%) and the lowest was reported from India (0.49%), where tobacco‐associated keratosis (growth of keratin) appeared to mask oral lichen planus. This resulted in the attenuation of its prevalence. Lichen planus can occur at any age. However, according to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, women over the age of 50 are most commonly affected. It is not contagious in nature; hence it does not spread from one person to another.

What are the Causes of Lichen Planus?

The exact cause of lichen planus is not well understood yet. But genetics and immunity play an important role when it comes to causes of lichen planus. There are various potential conditions that may trigger lichen planus. Let’s look at some of the commonly known lichen planus causes.

  • An allergic or immune system reaction to a medication or other substances is strongly associated as a lichen planus cause. It is considered to be an autoimmune disease. The body's protective cells (cells of the immune system) attack the body's own tissues, mistaking them to be foreign in nature.
  • Lichen planus may run in families. Hence, heredity is a common cause of lichen planus.
  • In certain cases, infections such as hepatitis C have acted as lichen planus causes.
  • Intake of few drugs, such as those containing bismuth, gold quinacrine or quinidine (anti-malarial drug), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, dapsone, penicillamine, tetracycline, sulphonamide, medicines to treat high blood pressure (captopril, propranolol, methyldopa, enalapril), furosemide, allopurinol may potentially become lichen planus causes.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, such as those used in the development of colour photographs, can also be lichen planus causes.
  • Intense and prolonged emotional stress due to grief, sadness, anxiety, etc., can trigger an abnormal reaction of the immune system and become a lichen planus cause.
  • Amalgam dental fillings may trigger allergic reactions, acting as an oral lichen planus trigger.

FAQs

What autoimmune disease causes lichen planus?

Oral lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the mucus membrane of the oral cavity. The exact lichen planus cause is not known currently. But according to the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, it is a T-cell (type of white blood cell) mediated autoimmune disease. Lichen planus occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the skin cells or mucous membrane cells.

Can lichen planus cause tiredness?

A study published in the journal Contemporary Clinical Dentistry comprised of 49 patients suffering from oral lichen planus (OLP). Of these, 63% of the patients associated stress with the onset and the waxing/waning of OLP lesions. Extreme stress may lead to fatigue or tiredness.
In cases of severe lichen planus, immune modulators may be prescribed. They work with the body's immune system to help fight the damage caused to the skin. However, they can come with side-effects such as skin irritation, headache, nausea and tiredness.

Can Lichen planus affect your eyes?

Lichen planus is generally caused due to genetic factors or factors related to the immune system. As per a case report published by the Department of Dermatology, Switzerland, ocular lichen planus (lichen planus affecting the eyes) is a rare event. Only 10 cases with lichen planus of the eyelids have been reported in the literature. When it affects the mucous membrane surfaces of the eyes, lichen planus causes scarring and even blindness in some cases. In any case, timely and proper medical attention is advisable in the early stages of lichen planus.

How fast does Lichen Planus spread?

Lichen planus is a condition that affects the hair, skin, nails and the mucous membranes of the body. It is usually seen as itchy, flat, purplish bumps on the skin. In the vagina, mouth and other areas covered by mucous membranes, lichen planus forms lacy white patches, with painful sores in some cases. Depending on the severity of the condition, the lesions can appear and spread over a course of several weeks.

Does stress cause Lichen Planus?

The exact lichen planus cause is not known as of yet. But stress is believed to be one of the oral lichen planus triggers. A study published in the journal Contemporary Clinical Dentistry comprised of 49 patients suffering from oral lichen planus (OLP). Of these, 63% of the patients associated stress with the onset and the waxing/waning of OLP lesions.

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