Understanding the Relationship between Chronic Systemic Disease and Lichen Sclerosus Urethral Strictures

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Lichen sclerosus is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition of the genitalia of unknown origin that accounts for nearly 10% of urethral stricture disease. In this study we determine systemic comorbidities associated with lichen sclerosus in men.

Materials and Methods

We analyzed data from 1,151 men who were enrolled in a multi-institutional prospective urethroplasty outcomes database. Individuals were grouped by stricture etiology, and baseline demographics, medical histories and patient reported outcome measures were retrospectively compared across groups.


Of the 1,151 men in the database 81 (7.0%) were noted to have lichen sclerosus related urethral stricture disease. Average patient age was 46.06 ± 16.52 years, with those with lichen sclerosus being significantly older than those without lichen sclerosus (51.26 ± 13.84 vs 45.68 ± 16.64, p = 0.0011). Men with lichen sclerosus were more likely to have hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes, and to use tobacco products. Controlling for age, men with lichen sclerosus related urethral stricture disease had a higher body mass index (aOR 1.089, 95% CI 1.050–1.130), and were more likely to have hypertension (aOR 2.028, 1.21–3.41) and be active tobacco users (aOR 2.0, 1.36–3.40). Mean preoperative patient reported outcome measures scores for urinary and sexual function were similar. Controlling for stricture length and location, the adjusted odds of surgical failure were higher for lichen sclerosus related urethral stricture disease (aOR 1.9, 95% CI 0.9–4.2).


Lichen sclerosus related urethral stricture disease is associated with chronic systemic diseases. This association may implicate a systemic inflammatory and/or autoimmune pathophysiology. A 2-hit mechanism implicating local and systemic factors for lichen sclerosus related urethral stricture disease development and progression is hypothesized.

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