Lichen Planus Symptoms - Common Signs & Symptoms of Lichen Planus

Lichen Planus symptoms

The signs and symptoms of lichen planus vary depending on what part of the body is affected. The onset or exacerbation of lichen planus has been linked to stressful events. Symptoms may be present for months or even several years. On the skin, it may appear as itchy bumps that have a purple coloration, appearing in the ceases in the skin or in areas where a scratch or injury has occurred. The most significant kind of lichen planus is the erosive type which has bright red ulcerations on the surface. 

According to the syllabus from the International Society for the Study of VulvoVaginal Disease (ISSVD) on diagnosis and management, the vulvar bumps may have a fine lacy white border (Wickham Striae). These purple bumps may be anywhere but often occur on the inner forearm and near the wrists or ankles. Other areas include: the lower back, neck and legs.

Other symptoms include itchiness, and in rare occasions crust-like lesions. The vulva may be very painful with open sores on the vulva or on the lining of the vagina. The labia may flatten, shrink or even appear resorbed. Because scarring can happen, it is important to get treatment. Patients with lichen planus may also complain of burning, rawness and itchiness in and around the vaginal opening. The skin may change to a darker coloration when the lesions resolve. 

Lichen planus can occur in the mouth (oral lichen planus). Symptoms may include changes in the gums, lips or tongue. You may also have sores in the mouth that cause burning and pain.  It can also affect men on the tip of the penis (Glans). Scalp lichen planus (lichen planopilaris) is rare and can result in scarring, temporary or permanent hair loss and scalp discoloration. Lichen planus can also affect the nails and fingers. 



Read more about symptoms affecting the vulva and vagina that may be causing discomfort or pain.

Learn more


Read more about vulvar and vaginal disorders that affect women and their quality of life.

Learn more