Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology

Vulval and genital conditions

Genital skin conditions are under-recognised and under-researched.

Research overview

Genital skin conditions can affect men, women and children. They often cause considerable symptoms and impact on day to day life, especially things that we take for granted such as walking, sitting, and going to the toilet.

Certain conditions are common, for example lichen sclerosus is estimated to affect up to 3% of adult females.

This area of dermatology is typically under-recognised, under-researched and under-funded. This leads to delays in getting the correct diagnosis, poor pathways of care and uncertainties in treatment.

In order to improve the care of people with genital skin conditions, increased awareness and high quality research is required.

Ongoing projects


PEARLS (Proactive against reactive therapy for the treatment of lichen sclerosus)

SHELLS (Diagnostic criteria for vulval lichen sclerosus)

CORALS (Core Outcomes for Research in Lichen Sclerosus)


All projects


PEARLS (Proactive against reactive therapy for the treatment of lichen sclerosus)

Proactive against reactive therapy for the prevention of lichen sclerosus exacerbation and progression of disease: a pragmatic, parallel group randomised controlled trial with embedded economic evaluation and process evaluation NIHR Health Technology Assessment In set-up

SHELLS (Diagnostic criteria for vulval lichen sclerosus)

A study to investigate which are the most important clinical criteria to diagnose vulval lichen sclerosus NIHR Advanced Fellowship Ongoing

The patient perspective: treatment for vulval lichen sclerosus and the potential use of laser

Patient interview study to gain deeper insight into views around treatment for vulval LS, potential use of laser and taking part in research British Society for the Study of Vulval Disease Ongoing

CORALS (Core Outcomes for Research in Lichen Sclerosus) 

Initiative to establish the most important outcomes to measure in future trials of genital lichen sclerosus UK DCTN Themed Call award Ongoing
Laser therapy for lichen sclerosus: a systematic review of the current evidence base Systematic review to examine the current evidence for all laser types in the treatment of lichen sclerosus UK DCTN fellow project Published
Laser treatment for Lichen Sclerosus: Professional, Patient and Public Perception To investigate the thoughts of patients, the public and health professionals in using laser therapy as a treatment for lichen sclerosus affecting the vulva BMedSci student project

Project completed

Results newsletter

Is urinary incontinence associated with lichen sclerosus in females? A systematic review and cross-sectional study Systematic review and  cross-sectional study  to establish whether urinary incontinence is associated with lichen sclerosus in females   Joint British Skin Foundation and British Association of Dermatologists funding


BJD article

​James Lind Alliance Lichen Sclerosus Priority Setting Partnership To identify and prioritise research questions that are important to people who have lichen sclerosus and those who treat them. BSSVD Published
A Randomised Controlled Trial of Systemic Therapy for Vulval Erosive Lichen Planus (hELP) trial A study that evaluated the effectiveness of tablet treatments for moderate or severe vulval erosive lichen planus. NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship Published
Erosive Lichen Planus: Is systematic treatment better than topical alone? Developing and designing a pilot multi-centre randomised controlled trial. This package of research was developed over a 12 month period and it successfully achieved funding through the NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship scheme. NIHR Research Flexibility and Sustainability Funding (FSF Published,
paper 1paper 2
Outcome measures for vulval skin disease - a systematic review of randomised controlled trials  Systematic review to identify outcome measures used in clinically based randomized controlled trials investigating therapeutic interventions in vulval disease. NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship Published
Diagnostic Criteria for Erosive Lichen Planus effecting the Vulva: An international electronic-Delphi Consensus Exercise A three-stage electronic-Delphi exercise to reach consensus on clinicopathological diagnostic criteria for erosive lichen planus of the vulva (ELPV). NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship Published

Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology

The University of Nottingham
Applied Health Research Building
University Park, Nottingham

telephone: +44 (0) 115 84 68631
email: cebd@nottingham.ac.uk