About Genital Wart Treatments at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
It is estimated that at least half of the sexually active population will become infected by the strain of human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes genital warts. Genital warts (Condyloma Acuminatum) are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that appear on the skin and mucus membranes of the genitals as soft, fleshy growths.
Whether you are pregnant, experiencing physical discomfort or emotional distress from visible warts, it is best to consult with a board certified dermatologist to discuss and plan the most effective treatment in eliminating your outbreak. Working closely within its eight specialty centers to provide combination treatments to optimize the effectiveness of your genital wart treatment plan, the highly-experienced providers at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta offer the latest non-surgical and surgical procedures to address mild to severe genital wart outbreaks.
In some cases, genital warts, which affect the moist tissues of the genital area, are so small that they are barely visible. Depending on the case, you may not see warts for weeks, months, or years after being infected. They can form as tiny, flat, flesh-colored or gray swellings or a cauliflower shape when several warts conjoin together, which can blossom into a large cluster. If you have genital warts, you may notice itching or discomfort in your genital area, increased dampness near warts, increased vaginal discharge, or bleeding during intercourse.
For women, the vulva, vaginal walls, cervix, and area between the external genitals and the anus can all be affected by genital warts. For men, genital warts can be found on the penis, scrotum, groin area, thighs, and inside or around the anus. Regardless of gender, genital warts can also form on the lips, mouth, tongue, and throat.
When genital warts do not respond to topical treatments such as imiquimod, podophyllin, podofilox, destructive trichloroacetic acid (TCA), or Veregen® botanical ointment, Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s Laser Institute of Georgia offers the latest laser treatment technologies for addressing difficult genital warts that may be more widespread. Offering a safe treatment for patients, including pregnant women, the precision of our lasers can safely destroy infected tissue without damaging the surrounding tissue and deeper dermal layers. Topical treatments may also be used in combination with laser treatment for optimal results.
Cryotherapy, which is the freezing of genital warts with liquid nitrogen, is the most common treatment used to treat genital wart outbreaks. Performed in-office, the liquid nitrogen freezing causes a blister to form around the wart, allowing the existing dead skin to shed and new skin to form. Depending on the location, size and thickness of the genital warts, multiple treatments may be required for reducing your outbreak.
Additionally, electrocautery can be used to remove warts by using an electrical current to burn them off or surgical excision with local anesthesia may be performed in our Surgical Suite to remove existing warts. During a consultation, our board-certified providers will discuss the best treatment options available for you.
What causes genital warts?
Genital warts are caused by one of over 40 strains of human papillomavirus that directly affect the genital area. These strains of genital HPV are spread through sexual contact, both from intercourse and oral sex, due to exposure to infected skin and bodily fluids. The HPV virus can be allusive as your immune system will generally suppress the infection so that you may never develop physical signs or symptoms indicating you have a form of the virus.
How can I prevent genital warts?
Preventatively, vaccines such as Gardisil are available to protect yourself against most strains of HPV that cause both genital warts and cervical cancer. Cervarix is another vaccine that protects against cervical cancer, but not genital warts. While not a guarantee, to decrease the risk of becoming infected: always wear a condom, avoid having unprotected sex with multiple partners, inquire about your partner’s sexual history and schedule regular check-ups, as cervical cancer and cancer of the vulva, anus, and penis have all been closely linked to HPV infection.
What if I get pregnant while infected with genital warts?
It is very important to have genital warts removed if you become pregnant while infected. Warts of the vaginal wall can reduce the ability of vaginal tissues to stretch during childbirth, creating difficulty during birth. Though rare, a mother can pass genital warts onto her child during birth. Babies can develop the warts in their throats, causing airway obstruction that would require surgery. If you are pregnant and experiencing a genital wart outbreak, please contact us today to schedule a consultation to determine the safest and most effective treatment plan for you.