Introduction. Although lichen sclerosus (LS) may affect women's physical functioning, mood, and quality of life, restricting their physical activities, sexual, and non-sexual contacts, there are limited data on the sexual functioning of women diagnosed with LS.
Aims. The aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of photodynamic therapy for vulvar LS on sexual functions and depressive symptoms in postmenopausal women from the Upper Silesian Region of Poland.
Methods. A total of 65 women aged 50–70 visiting an outpatient clinic for assessment of vulvar dermatoses were screened for the clinical trial. Finally, 37 women who met all the inclusion/exclusion criteria were included in the study. All the subjects were treated by topical laser therapy (photodynamic therapy). Sexual functions and depressive symptoms were assessed before and after the therapy using Female Sexual Function Index and Beck Depression Inventory, respectively.
Main Outcome Measures. Sexual behaviors, sexual functions, and depressive symptoms in females after photodynamic therapy for vulvar LS.
Results. The total FSFI score was significantly lower after the treatment of vulvar LS as compared with the baseline (median 24.6 vs. 15.9). However, the prevalence of clinically significant FSD was stable throughout the medical intervention except lubrication disorders (higher prevalence after the treatment: 40% vs. 68.57%). Although the scores of BDI at the baseline dropped significantly after the photodynamic therapy (median 12.0 and 9.0, respectively), there were no significant differences in the prevalence of depressive symptoms (48.65% vs. 45.94%).
Conclusions. Topical laser therapy for vulvar LS has a good clinical outcome, especially in the context of no major negative effects on sexual functioning and the positive impact on the severity of depressive symptoms in postmenopausal women. However, patients should be informed about the possible lubrication disorders following the treatment. Skrzypulec V, Olejek A, Drosdzol A, Nowosielski K, Kozak-Darmas I, and Wloch S. Sexual functions and depressive symptoms after photodynamic therapy for vulvar lichen sclerosus in postmenopausal women from the Upper Silesian region of Poland. J Sex Med 2009;6:3395–3400.