What Is Kraurosis Vulvae?

Dan Harkins

Kraurosis vulvae is an inflammatory disorder that causes genital wasting, widely known as lichen sclerosis or Breisky disease. It is usually characterized by a swelling and then atrophy of a post-menopausal woman's vulval region — from the anus to clitoris and everything in between. This disorder has also struck the genitals of some elderly men and even younger women whose bodies can be adversely affected by oral contraceptives. The result for many women can be an overall shrinking of the vaginal opening and raw, itchy skin all over the genitals.

Kraurosis vulvae affects mostly post-menopausal women.
Kraurosis vulvae affects mostly post-menopausal women.

One of the kraurosis disorders that attack skin cells and the underlying mucous membranes, kraurosis vulvae attacks the vulval region. This region is the perineum between the anus and vagina, the labia minora and majora as well as the clitoris. Growths first appear as small, white speckles that eventually cluster to form larger shiny-skinned growths, which eventually become wrinkly and dry. Then the vulva swells and begins to atrophy, resulting in tearing, bruising and eventual scarring.

Kraurosis vulvae is typically treated with cortisone cream.
Kraurosis vulvae is typically treated with cortisone cream.

Though the most common symptom of kraurosis vulvae is itchy, painful skin, blistering and bloody discharge also may occur. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body's immune response should contain and destroy the growths. The condition is not contagious, but if it occurs in the genitals immediate medical attention is urged. If appearing under the foreskin of uncircumcised males, circumcision is frequently recommended. Removal of the growths, however, has only resulted in almost immediate recurrence.

Kraurosis vulvae attacks the vulval region, meaning the perineum between the anus and vagina, the labia minora and majora, and the clitoris.
Kraurosis vulvae attacks the vulval region, meaning the perineum between the anus and vagina, the labia minora and majora, and the clitoris.

Kraurosis vulvae is typically treated with a prescription-strength cortisone cream. This stops itching to promote healing for the short term, and contains the growths to stem remission for the long term. Certain factors like low estrogen levels or an infection, however, could hinder the cortisone's effectiveness. In some cases, doctors prescribe other drugs like retinoids or tacrolimus ointment. In the upper body, a process of ultraviolet light application has proven effective, which can be done on genital skin as well.

Circumcision may be required to treat kraurosis vulvae in males.
Circumcision may be required to treat kraurosis vulvae in males.

Contracting kraurosis vulvae does not mean a cancerous condition has been discovered. The lesions can, however, provide a more hospitable environment for cancer cells to set up shop for a tumor. Biopsies are commonly performed on any growths removed from the vulva.

Biopsies are commonly performed on any growths removed from the vulva.
Biopsies are commonly performed on any growths removed from the vulva.

Most patients suffering from kraurosis vulvae are post-menopausal women. For this reason, hormonal deficiencies in concert with some form of immunodeficiency is suspected as the cause. Genetic inheritance has played a role in just 22 percent of patients, according to Medscape online.

Kraurosis vulvae may strike the genitals of younger women whose bodies can be adversely affected by oral contraceptives.
Kraurosis vulvae may strike the genitals of younger women whose bodies can be adversely affected by oral contraceptives.
Kraurosis vulvae may cause women to experience itchy skin around their genitals.
Kraurosis vulvae may cause women to experience itchy skin around their genitals.
Wearing tight-fitting clothing may further irritate itchy genital skin.
Wearing tight-fitting clothing may further irritate itchy genital skin.

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