Cyrotherapy, or freezing, is one method used to treat genital warts. Freezing genital warts is a procedure that must be performed in a doctor's office. Medical professionals strongly discourage trying to freeze genital warts at home because the chemicals used to freeze genital warts are very strong and can be extremely dangerous if not administered appropriately on sensitive genital areas.
Freezing incorporates using liquid nitrogen to cause a blister to form around the genital wart. As the skin heals, the lesions slough off, allowing new skin to appear. Some people will require multiple freezing treatments. Cryotherapy is typically used to remove cervical warts in women, while larger external warts are often surgically removed. Side effects include local irritation, ulceration, and, sometimes, scarring.
Many patients report good results from freezing treatments for genital warts and get almost immediate relief from their symptoms. If freezing genital warts is not successful, the doctor may try another approach, depending upon the duration and number of genital warts.
A more expensive treatment than freezing warts is the injection of an antiviral drug known as Interferon, which is injected by needle directly into the warts. This treatment is usually used as an alternative when genital warts have reappeared after being removed by freezing or surgery. Even after treatment by Interferon, there is no guarantee that visual genital warts will not return.
Whether you choose freezing or another method for removing your genital warts, it is important to understand that the virus remains in your body and can cause genital warts to recur. This is due to the fact that the treatment removes the genital warts, but does not remove the virus once you are exposed to it.
Because the HPV remains dormant in the body, genital warts may reappear at any time after freezing or other types of treatment. Those who have had one occurrence of genital warts should be aware that they still carry the virus and can infect others. Women need to be especially careful because genital warts can invade the vagina and cervix, resulting in increased risk of more serious diseases.
It is important to remember that freezing procedures involve the use of strong chemicals and should never be tried at home or in a non-medical setting. The success of the freezing procedure for the treatment of genital warts depends upon the severity of your symptoms. Ask your doctor if the freezing procedure is appropriate for you.
GlossaryLiquid Nitrogen: A strong chemical that can be administered by a health care professional to freeze genital warts.
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