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Uchechukwu Orji: My Experience with Lichen Planus

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According to heathline.com, Lichen Planus, pronounced “Ly-kin-pla-nus,” is a skin rash triggered by the immune system. It is quite unclear what actually triggers this disease. However, some potential triggers include viral infections, allergens, stress and genetics. The rash looks like a thickened purplish rash on the skin, genitals, and/or mouth.

All that one is oyibo. This isn’t some weird disease that you see on webmd.com and think it’s not real. It legit happened to me. Twice!

From what I was told by my parents, I was attacked by his disease when I was about 11 months old. According to my mum, it kept reoccurring until I was about 7 or 8. She said I would cry and cry every night. I was taken to every doctor they could find but I could not get the correct diagnosis. Doctors felt it was an allergic reaction to dairy, but even after I stopped taking milk, it didn’t recede. Then they thought it was some form of bacterial infection. I was given strong antibiotics, but lai lai, the yeye thing jus siddon kampe.

I cannot remember everything, but I remember, vaguely, using combs and even knives to scratch my skin because the itching made me so uncomfortable. When I was about 8 or 9, it receded on its own.

However, fast forward 15 years later and this wretched disease came back again. And it was dreadful.

It arrived quite mild. It progressively became worse. Like, nowhere was spared. Not even my palms or my lips. It was such a horrible sight.
The pain aside, I had to deal with the constant shame of walking on the road and people looking at me weird. The bold ones asked me directly, “Aunty wetin dey do you nau?” I had to start wearing long sleeves and leggings on the road, and even then it was still visible. The sympathetic ones would say sorrowfully, “Ahh aunty, this thing wan spoil your fine skin.” Funny how no one ever told me I had fine skin before. Now I had a problem and was getting sympathy compliments everywhere.

I went through the same cycle again. Doctors upon doctors and no answer anywhere. I actually went to the teaching hospital at Yaba, but it took me 2 weeks just to get an appointment. Of course, within these 2 weeks, the rashes, which were only on my legs, had spread throughout my body. It took another 3 weeks to get a biopsy appointment, and I was told that I’d have to wait 2 months to get the results. I knew that at the rate I was going, I was on my way to becoming the female biblical Job.

But God was so kind. I was introduced to a renowned dermatologist who was able to give a proper diagnosis. We found out I had lichen planus. I had it as a child, and apparently it reoccurred in adulthood. Fam, I had never been so happy to hear I had a disease before. Since no one had previously been able to diagnose what I had, my mind had gone everywhere from skin cancer to leprosy.

In less than 2 months, it cleared up. What I battle now is the hyperpigmentation spots which I am hopeful will soon clear up. However, I wrote this article for people who have or may have had this disease and did not know what it was/is. Calm down, boo, your village people are not pursuing you.

Generally, it can be resolved with Clobetasol Propiornate. This steroid ointment helps to reduce the inflammation. It is not very difficult to get. Most whitening ointments contain 0.05 percent clobetasol, which is quite sufficient. For serious cases, Prednisone should be used. However, it should only be used for serious cases, as it acts as an immune-suppressant. Suppressing the immune system could also have adverse side effects on its own. It is sold for about ₦200. For oral lichen planus, it is best left alone so it is resolved on its own. If it’s too bad, the mouthwashes containing steroids may be used.

All in all, it is crystal clear that we still have a long way to go with regards to our healthcare system. So much needs to be done, especially in areas of research and development. However, it’s best for everyone to be properly educated so that there is no cause for panic when something like this is noticed.

Note that this article is merely for educational and not medical purposes. In other words, please consult your doctor abeg.

Take a look at a case of lichen planus below. (This photo may be disturbing to some people. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

I am a twenty two year old lawyer serving in the heart of abuja and getting some life changing experiences. I love God and my family too. I also think i am a nice person but once I'm sleep deprived, i act worse than a raging bull. I blog at uchaychukwu.wordpress.com

13 Comments

  1. Lol

    November 13, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    For long term treatment acitretin is used though not appropriate in women of child bearing age. Also causes scarring alopecia and nail abnormalities. Hyperpigmentation fades in about 6 months.

    • Uche

      November 15, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks so much for reading. I’m grateful I didn’t have scalp alopecia but the hyperpigmentation is there. I really hope it resolves on time because I was told it wa dermal. We hope for the best though

  2. Bijoux

    November 13, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Ewwwwww, kinda looks awful. Met one lady that had the same thing. No one exactly knew what it was

    • Uche

      November 15, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Lollzzz, na so we see am oo. Thanks for reading

  3. xqsyou

    November 13, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Sorry to hear you’re dealing with this.
    Please keep a close watch on it, if it ever recurs. I hope this is the last episode of the lesion for you. However, if at all it does recur, make sure a biopsy of the lesion is carried out.
    I don’t mean to scare you but it is a known pre-cancerous lesion especially when it occurs in the mouth and it’s best to catch it early.
    Hope this helps.
    Best wishes…

    • Uche

      November 15, 2018 at 3:07 pm

      Yeah. I didn’t have the oral version. But the doctor assured me that mine wasn’t cancerous. Obviously I still have to be watchful anyway. Thanks for reading. Please share the information.

  4. Chinyere Nwaoko

    November 14, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing , at least i know how to relate to my sales girl experience. She had this some months ago while at school in Awka and the Doctor told her to go home and use traditional herbs because, the rashes was caused by supernatural forces, can you imagine that.

    • xqsyou

      November 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      For real?! Nothing we no go see for Naija ??

    • Uche

      November 15, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      My dear. That’s the story oo. You know how it is. Once we can’t explain something, we think it’s “spiritual”. God is still our healer but as much as we can, we should get educated. That is why I knew I should share this story because some people may be going through this not knowing what it is.

      Thanks for reading. Please share the information.

  5. The Foodies Hive

    November 15, 2018 at 11:32 am

    I learnt something new today ,i hope and pray this is the last of it . Headed to your blog!

    • Uche

      November 15, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks dear. Really appreciate.

  6. Evelyn

    November 15, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    I also have Lichen Planus. I have done the very same things you have. Thank you for sharing this with others who may not know what it is.

  7. Sapphire

    November 19, 2018 at 11:30 am

    After series of blood tests and drug popping,i discovered lichen planus o. Mine is actually caused by garri and as someone who attended a boarding school, garri is a necessity. So you can imagine! Lol.

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