Lichen Planus in Mouth

by Sam Malone

Lichen planus is a skin disorder that forms like a rash anywhere on the body. It can even form on the mouth, on the sides of the tongue, or on the insides of the cheeks and on the gums. Lichen planus is not a serious disorder or disease and very often heals by itself. It is, however, good to get it checked with a medical practitioner if you have a similar rash anywhere on your body.

Causes: Nobody knows exactly why lichens planus forms. It is assumed by many that it is an auto immune disorder, where the body’s own immune system fights against the body’s cells. The inflammation is in the form of blisters, sometimes bluish-white in color. They can occur anywhere on the body, including the arms, legs and face. The blisters are painful, and in some cases, last for a very long time. Since it is an auto immune disorder, there is every chance of a recurrence. In some cases, the disorder takes up to 18 months to cure, and the rates of recurrence are higher for these people.

Symptoms: The symptoms of lichens planus are different when it occurs in the mouth and on the rest of the body. When it occurs on the skin, it usually occurs in the tender parts of the skin such as the inner wrist, legs, torso, or genitals. The rash may be itchy and in the form of papule clusters. When it occurs in the mouth, it can be very painful, although mild cases may not show any discomfort. The lesions will be bluish-white and have spots on them. Lines that look like a lacy network occur on the lesions. There will also be a gradual increase in the size of the lesions. If left untreated, it may progress to form ulcers.

Lichen planus in the mouth should be watched carefully, especially if it does not respond well to treatment or if it does not get cured after a long time. This is because there is a chance that these lesions may progress to form mouth cancer at a later date.

Treatment: Treatment for Lichen planus is varied, and there is no single protocol for treatment of the disease. Since it is an autoimmune response, a multi-pronged strategy is used in the treatment of lichens planus.

The usual methods of treatment include:

  • Immune suppressing medication
  • Antihistamines
  • Lidocaine Mouthwashes: They help by numbing the infected area inside the mouth, helping to eat without discomfort.
  • Corticosteroids: They can either be applied topically or injected right into the lesion. They help by reducing inflammation and suppressing immune responses.
  • Ultraviolet Therapy: Nobody knows how ultraviolet theory works, but it is still considered one of the treatment methods.

Cure: Lichens planus is completely curable, although it may take a while. Lichens planus in the mouth, however, is especially serious, because it takes the longest to heal. Many times, lichens planus in the mouth takes more than 18 months to be cured. The lesions also need constant watching because sometimes even under medication they can turn cancerous. This is especially so if the disease is left untreated.

Lichens planus can also recur many times in a person’s life. As of now, there is no known preventive mechanism to safeguard from getting lichens planus. In certain cases, there are some medication that can cause lichens planus of the mouth. In these cases, the lesions disappear almost immediately once the medication is stopped.

If you feel that you may have lichens planus, it is best to consult a doctor for a confirmed diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. 
Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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