Harvard Women's Health Watch

Ask the doctor: What is causing my vaginal itching?

Q. I have itching near my vagina, which my doctor says is due to lichen sclerosus. What can you tell me about this condition?

A. In women, lichen sclerosus (LS) is a skin condition that most often occurs around the vulva and anus. It causes the skin in these areas to become thin, whitened, and sometimes wrinkled. Many women have itching or a dull ache, while others have no symptoms.

LS tends to occur before puberty and after menopause. Left untreated, it may lead to scarring, cracking, and fissures in the tissue, which makes urination painful. Over time, it can constrict the opening to the vagina, making sexual intercourse painful.

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