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Warts & Treatment

Doctor examining patient skin moles with dermoscope

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is considered one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. The percentage of people who are infected with the virus worldwide reaches 80%. It affects both genders equally and requires immediate attention when it manifests clinically.

There are many strains of HPV. However, only a few of them contribute to the development of cervical cancer in women, while the occurrence of cancer in men is extremely rare.

Trust the experienced venereologist/dermatologist Dr. Karalexis, who has years of experience and specialization in the field of sexually transmitted diseases, for early diagnosis and treatment.

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How do they appear clinically?

• They appear in the genital area.

• They can also appear in the anal area.

• They are usually asymptomatic.

• They look like small protrusions.

• They can appear as small pimples.

• In advanced stages, they can become enlarged.

• Their color is usually the same as the skin color.

• They can appear individually or in large numbers.

Often, they are not easy to diagnose as their appearance closely resembles that of molluscum contagiosum and other papillomas. Although they are typically asymptomatic, they may cause itching or a burning sensation. Sometimes, their appearance in the anal area can make it challenging for doctors to diagnose and might be mistaken for hemorrhoids. The right specialist for their diagnosis and treatment is a dermatologist-venereologist.

Prevention to avoid genital warts:

• Abstinence from sexual intercourse or avoiding frequent change of sexual partners.

• Regular check-ups by a venereologist.

• The use of condoms is mandatory but does not offer 100% protection.

• Vaccination against HPV.

Abstinence from any sexual activity and avoiding partner swapping almost eliminates the chance of infection. However, the most effective prevention so far is the use of condoms. Although condoms do not cover all areas around the genitals, they significantly reduce the risk of transmission and prevent the spread of internal (intravaginal) warts in women. For preventing cervical cancer in women, there are vaccines that protect against HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18. This means that when a person comes into contact with these specific strains, they will not get infected. However, vaccines do not protect against all strains. The vaccines work preventively, which is why their use is recommended before the onset of sexual activity. Finally, if someone develops warts, their partner should also be examined without fail.

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    How are genital warts treated?

    · Use of special creams.

    · Cryotherapy

    · Cauterization with diathermy.

    · CO2 Laser therapy.

    The incubation period for genital warts ranges from 3 weeks to 8 months, and in younger individuals, the body might even combat the virus without treatment within 1-2 years. Although there are treatments for external lesions, the virus isn’t eradicated but remains dormant in the body. Diagnosis is mainly clinical but can also involve special tests. Treatment can be done with various topical medications (applying creams to the lesions), freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy), or cauterization with diathermy or laser.

    CO2 Laser & Genital Warts

    The most effective and modern treatment is CO2 Laser, which has advantages over other treatments in terms of speed, precision, and low to zero recurrence rate. Usually, one session is enough to eliminate the warts. The laser vaporizes the lesions immediately while also ensuring excellent hemostasis, preventing the virus from spreading to surrounding areas. It targets the affected area, leaving the surrounding healthy skin intact. No pain is reported after using the laser. It provides excellent aesthetic results without scarring. Overall, it is a bloodless and painless treatment.

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    FAQ

    Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. They affect both genders equally and are found in the genital and anal regions.

    The lesions are typically small, papillomatous growths ranging from 0.1 to 1 centimeter in size, and their color can be white or the same as the surrounding skin. Their size varies, and in rare cases, they can grow up to 12 centimeters. They can appear individually or in clusters.

    Genital warts are usually asymptomatic. However, in rare cases, itching or a burning sensation in the area has been observed. If they are injured, they can cause minor bleeding.

    The HPV virus appears in the ano-genital area, specifically on the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, scrotum, urethra, anus, and the surrounding areas. However, in recent years, it has also been observed in the oral mucosa, often due to oral sex.

    It’s crucial that genital warts are diagnosed by an experienced dermatologist, as the lesions often resemble other conditions such as molluscum contagiosum. The diagnosis of internal warts in women is typically done through a Pap smear (Pap test). After the detection of external warts in men, further procedures like urethroscopy or biopsy might follow.

    Since genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease, their primary mode of transmission is through sexual contact. However, one can also become infected through direct skin contact with the lesions. This depends on the person’s level of health and immune system function.

    Genital warts in the oral cavity are rarer, but there has been an increase in cases in recent years.

    Additionally, in cases where the virus is present but symptoms are not, shaving or minor injuries in the genital area can trigger the clinical appearance of warts.

    Transmission from beach mats, towels, or seats is considered extremely unlikely.

    The incubation period for the disease ranges from 3 weeks to 8 months. It’s important to note that the manifestation of symptoms can occur months or even years after infection. Because of this, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when someone became infected with the virus.

    There are about 40 different types of HPV, and 90% of genital warts cases are caused by the benign genotypes 6 and 11. However, there are also strains 16 and 18, which are associated with cervical cancer.

    There are various ways to treat genital warts, but even after treatment, the virus remains in the body in a latent state. The treatment of lesions can be done with topical medication, cryotherapy, diathermy, surgical removal, CO2 laser, or Nd-YAG laser. Depending on the extent of the problem, the dermatologist will suggest the most suitable method. So far, laser treatment has shown the best results for wart removal, as it leaves no scars and has an almost zero recurrence rate. In younger individuals, the body may be able to fight off the virus on its own within two years.

    As mentioned earlier, the virus remains in the body in a latent state. After the treatment of the lesions, they typically do not reappear unless there’s infection from another strain of the virus or if, for some reason, the body’s immune system is compromised.

    If genital warts appear during pregnancy, a cesarean section is often recommended to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby during childbirth.

    Avoiding frequent changes of sexual partners and using condoms are the two most important measures to protect against HPV infection. However, condoms do not provide complete protection as some areas around the genital region remain exposed. There are also vaccines that offer coverage against the strains of the virus that cause cervical cancer, which are recommended for girls who have not yet engaged in sexual activity. Lastly, it’s important for both partners to be examined if one of them develops warts.

    Είπαν για εμάς

    Βασιλική Γούναρη
    Βασιλική Γούναρη
    2024-03-13
    Τον εμπιστεύομαι χρόνια!! Είναι ένας εξαιρετικός επιστήμονας με πραγματικό ενδιαφέρον και γνώση για τον ασθενή!!Τον συνιστώ ανεπιφύλακτα τόσο για ιατρικά όσο και τις αισθητικές υπηρεσίες που προσφέρει ο χώρος.
    Έφη Κουτρούμπα
    Έφη Κουτρούμπα
    2024-03-12
    Εξαιρετικός ιατρός, άριστα καταρτισμένος! Το ίδιο και όλο το προσωπικό! Πολλά μπράβο για όλη του την ομάδα!!
    Eirini Sal
    Eirini Sal
    2024-03-12
    Εξαιρετικός γιατρός, τον συστήνω ανεπιφύλακτα!!
    Ario Rakip
    Ario Rakip
    2024-03-05
    Excellent service
    Αδαμαντια Παναγιωτα Φλαμπουρη
    Αδαμαντια Παναγιωτα Φλαμπουρη
    2024-03-05
    Έκανα αφαίρεση σπιλων με τον γιατρό και έμεινα απόλυτα ικανοποιημένη και από την διαδικασία αλλά και από την μετέπειτα παρακολούθηση μέχρι την αποθεραπεία !!!! Ευχαριστώ πολύ ❤️
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