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Presenting symptoms and diagnosis of vulvar lichen sclerosus in premenopausal women: a cross-sectional study
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  • Jill Krapf ,
  • Alyssa Smith,
  • Sarah Cigna,
  • Andrew Goldstein
Jill Krapf
Center for Vulvovaginal Disorders
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Alyssa Smith
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
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Sarah Cigna
The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
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Andrew Goldstein
Center for Vulvovaginal Disorders
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Abstract

Objective: Characterize the presentation of vulvar lichen scleorsus (LS) among premenopausal women. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: An international web-based survey distributed on social media support groups and in two urban gynecology offices specializing in LS. Population: A total of 503 premenopausal women with biopsy-confirmed vulvar LS between the ages of 18-50. Methods: Participants completed an anonymous 28-question web-based survey between January to March 2021. Main Outcome Measures: Symptoms, timing and accuracy of diagnosis, and presence of concomitant autoimmune conditions. Results: Symptoms reported to be most present and affect the individual were dyspareunia (68%; 44%) and tearing with intercourse or vaginal insertion (63%; 39%). Symptoms that most frequently prompted patients to seek medical attention were dyspareunia (35%), pruritus (31%), and tearing with intercourse or vaginal insertion (26%). Most common skin changes included hypopigmentation (81%), vulvar fissures (72%) and labial resorption (60%), with fissures affecting the individual the most (48%). There was a 4-year delay in diagnosis with an average age of symptom onset of 27 years and average age of diagnosis of 32 years. Sixty-six percent of respondents initially received an alternative diagnosis, most commonly vulvovaginal yeast infection (49%). There is an increased incidence of hypothyroidism, vitiligo, pernicious anemia, and celiac disease. Conclusion: Premenopausal women with vulvar LS more commonly present with dyspareunia and tearing with intercourse, less often than vulvar pruritis. This condition should be considered and evaluated in women of all ages presenting with vulvar symptoms and sexual pain. Funding: None Keywords: lichen sclerosus; vulvar dermatoses; vulvar pruritis; dyspareunia

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

29 Jul 2021Submitted to BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
02 Aug 2021Assigned to Editor
02 Aug 2021Submission Checks Completed
06 Aug 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 Sep 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending