Condylomas are neoplasms on the surface of a person’s epithelium that have a characteristic appearance that resembles a cockscomb. Their occurrence is a consequence of the invasion of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Most often, infection occurs as a result of intimate contact with a person who has genital warts. The method of infection determines the localization of neoplasms – the genital area and around them. The growths can bleed, complicate and even interfere with sexual contact and normal delivery. Treatment of genital warts comes down to their removal and antiviral therapy.
Origin of genital warts
According to the international classification of diseases ICD 10, the disease has a code: A63.0 Anogenital (venereal) warts. Condylomas are caused by the following strains of papillomavirus: 6, 11, 13, 16, 18. The latter two are considered to be at high oncogenic risk.
The virus in most cases is transmitted as a result of close contact with infected epithelium during intimacy. There is medical evidence of the possibility of infection of the baby in utero or during the birth process from a mother infected with condylomatosis. In addition, there is a small risk of infection when using objects that were in use by a person with anogenital warts (towels, clothes).
If the immune defense weakens, the HPV accumulated in a certain area of the epithelium begins to change the functions of its cells. Infected cells begin to rapidly divide and grow, leading to the appearance of characteristic growths. The disease is characterized by a chronic course, relapses.
Factors provoking the accelerated development of HPV:
- The start of sexual activity at an early age;
- Many sexual partners;
- The use of oral contraceptives;
- Decreased immunity due to illness, stress, taking drugs that suppress immunity;
- Vitamin imbalance;
- Eating disorders;
- Alcohol use, smoking;
- Stay in an area with a high level of environmental pollution;
- The presence of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, fungal diseases;
- Frequent relapses of herpes infection.
Signs of genital warts
Condylomas look like papillae of the color of the surrounding epithelium (usually pink), towering on the skin surface singly or in whole “bouquets”. They are soft to the touch, moist, with an uneven surface. They grow very quickly, just as quickly capture the "new territory". Damage to condyloma as a result of careless handling or an inept attempt to remove leads to the formation of bloody discharge and a long non-healing ulcer.
- On the surface of the epithelium inside and outside the intimate organs;
- In the area of the anus;
- In the mouth and larynx, in the tongue.
There are also flatter condylomas that occur on the tissues of the vagina and on the cervix. Often they are difficult to detect as a result of a standard visual inspection. Such growths are detected using a colposcope, which allows to study the structure of the mucosa due to multiple optical magnification. There is a risk of such a condyloma degenerating into a malignant neoplasm.
A single condyloma looks modest and harmless – a few millimeters of altered tissue. However, in practice, the proliferation of genital warts can include many dozens of growths. In medical practice, there have been cases when the entire skin in the intimate zone, around the anus and in the perineum was completely covered with infectious neoplasms.
Often, genital warts are accompanied by other sexually transmitted diseases. This "community" greatly weakens the immune system and contributes to the progression of the disease. Accidental detection of infection is also possible. For example, during examination during pregnancy, HPV is detected in the blood, although external signs are still absent. In such a situation, you should consult an infectious disease specialist and, if necessary, undergo treatment.
How condylomatosis develops
Most often, human papillomavirus infection penetrates unnoticed by humans, and a long incubation period makes it difficult to accurately determine the time of infection. In a third of cases, spontaneous disposal of it occurs within a year after infection. Latent infection, i.e. one in which its clinical signs are absent can be diagnosed exclusively using the PCR method.
Stage of development of condyloma:
- At the initial stage of the appearance of external signs of infection, an observant person may notice tiny tubercles on the skin or mucous membranes surrounded by hyperemic epithelium. Itching is possible;
- As the neoplasm grows, the sensation of itching intensifies, and it itself looks like “cauliflower inflorescences” or “cockscomb”. In the vicinity of a large papilloma, new tubercles may occur.
Sometimes viral growths on the skin can be confused with the manifestations of other diseases. To differentiate them, you need to contact an experienced medical specialist. A venereologist, urologist or gynecologist can skillfully treat genital warts. During the examination, the doctor will be able to determine whether the emerging neoplasms are:
- Filiform papillomas;
- Micropapillomatosis of the labia;
- Molluscum contagiosum occurring in the groin and genitals;
- Pearly (pearl) papules – nodules that appear around the circumference of the glans penis in many healthy men. Not a disease;
- Wide condylomas, which are symptoms of secondary syphilis;
- Abscesses or acne.
In the framework of a medical institution, in order to make sure the doctor’s assumptions are correct, the following diagnostic methods are used:
- Detection of the type and amount of papillomavirus by PCR. It is advisable to simultaneously conduct diagnostics for the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases. A second study should be carried out after two months after the end of treatment;
- An immunological study confirming the presence of antibodies to a particular strain of the virus;
- Women undergo a cervical examination. The procedure will eliminate its dysplasia and cancer. If the tests confirm the presence of the virus subspecies 16, 18, 31, 33, 35 in the blood, the patient is recommended to schedule annual examinations and a study to determine precancerous cells in the cervical region – oncocytology;
- If you suspect endourethral condylomas, colposcopy and urethroscopy are performed;
- The study of tissue removed condyloma to determine the type of viral infection – histology.
You can diagnose genital warts on your own in a domestic environment. To do this, you need to soak a cotton pad or disk with 5% vinegar and attach it to the growth for no more than 10 minutes. The white shade acquired by the epithelium as a result of the procedure indicates that this is condyloma.
Why are condylomas dangerous?
An infection that affects the sensitive tissues of the genitals causes a lot of physical inconvenience and mental suffering. A long course of infection depletes the body, opening the gate to other diseases that place an additional burden on it.
In the course of the growth and development of genital warts, complications can appear, including quite hazardous to health:
- In the conditions of a prolonged lack of therapeutic measures, condylomas can suppurate;
- As a result of regular friction on linen or scratching itchy condylomas, they can be injured, come off, leaving behind a long time unhealed painful bleeding ulcers;
- Injured condylomas can become a "gateway" for the penetration of pathogens, as a result of which a bacterial infection can develop.
- Men develop phimosis due to cicatricial changes in the foreskin;
- The combination of weakened immunity and lack of treatment can lead to extensive growths that affect the entire perineum and intimate organs;
- General deterioration in health due to depletion of the body's defenses;
- Infection of a child during natural childbirth with a woman having condylomas on the internal and external genital organs;
- The degeneration of condyloma into a cancerous tumor is a rare but occurring phenomenon.
Treatments for genital warts
An organism that has sufficient reserves to contain the virus may not need therapy. Cases of spontaneous recovery from infection are not uncommon, when strong immunity completely eliminates the virus. Even more often, one can observe the containment of HPV within certain boundaries. In such a situation, it can manifest itself many years after infection, or not make itself felt at all. In other cases, with the appearance of condyloma, treatment is strongly recommended.
A competent specialist will begin therapy with an immunity study. Knowing the weak link in the body, it is easier to pick up immunomodulating agents. The most common among them:
- Candles "Polyoxidonium" is used by inserting a candle into the rectum or into the vagina before bedtime. The course of therapy will require 5 candles, inserted with a time interval of 48 hours;
- “Immunal” tablets – taken orally, 1 tablet 4 times a day for 1-2 months;
- "Reaferon" – the powder from the vial is diluted in a small amount of water and drunk twice a day for half an hour before meals. Course duration – 1.5 weeks;
- "Cycloferon" – in the form of tablets, injection and liniment. Tablets are drunk 1 piece per day. Injections are done 1 time per day with an interval of 1 to 3 days, depending on the severity of the disease. The duration of treatment is determined by the doctor. Liniment is applied daily for 5 days to the surface of the skin affected by condylomas, covering with a gauze bandage from above.
The next step will be the appointment of drugs with antiviral activity. These can be general exposure agents and for local use:
- "Allokin-alpha" – the solution prepared from the powder is administered subcutaneously. To treat HPV infection, a course of nine injections is recommended at two-day intervals;
- "Isoprinosine" – tablets must be drunk 2 pieces three times a day. Duration of treatment is from 2 weeks to 1 month;
- "Epigen sex spray" – spraying liquid onto the skin and mucous membranes affected by condylomas, up to 4 times a day. Apply to a complete cure;
- "Panavir" – the drug is presented in various forms. Intravenous infusion is done for two weeks, 1 per day with an interval of 2 to 3 days. The gel is applied to the affected area daily 5 times for 5 days. Candles are dosed similarly to injections. Spray is applied daily by 1 to 2 taps on the valve.
Inside each condyloma contains a large number of virus cells, therefore, a mandatory item in the list of medical procedures will be the removal of growth. In the hospital, the most modern methods of eliminating tumors are available. The operation can be done using local anesthesia, bloodless. The choice of this or that method will depend on the location of the growth, the extent of growth. The most effective removal methods today are:
- Laser coagulation – exposure to papilloma cells by a neodymium or carbon dioxide laser leads to their evaporation. In its place there is a small scab, under which the skin gradually regenerates. After 1 week, the crust will disappear, and there will be no trace of condyloma. This method has numerous praise from patients and is used in many treatment centers;
- Cryodestruction is an affordable way to eliminate neoplasms. Its essence consists in freezing mutated cells using liquid nitrogen. The tissues of the neoplasm after such an effect begin to turn white, die, and it falls off. There remains a small wound that does not bleed. In a week she will heal. The quality of the operation directly depends on the experience and skills of a specialist;
- Radio wave method – the energy of high-frequency waves through the electrode is sent to the condyloma. It overheats, and tissue necrosis occurs. Usually after surgery there are no scars or scars. Local anesthesia avoids discomfort. There is no risk of damage to the surrounding healthy epithelium;
- In some cases, the use of necrotizing agents, such as Verrucacid, Superchistotel, Collomac, Solcoderm, may be justified. These can be concentrates of acids or alkalis, the ingress of which on the tissue of the neoplasm leads to the death of its cells. It will whiten, die and fall off. Use such funds with extreme caution so as not to cause a burn of a healthy epithelium.
Despite the wide spread of human papillomavirus among the world's population, if certain rules are followed, it is quite possible to protect yourself from infection with condylomas:
- Consciously approach the choice of sexual partner. Ideally, he should be single and healthy. According to statistics, most often condylomas attack people prone to promiscuous sexual intercourse. With each new partner, the risk of infection increases;
- Avoid physical contact with people who are carriers of genital warts;
- Observe the rules of hygiene of intimate organs;
- Use high-quality means of barrier contraception. Although they do not guarantee a complete absence of risk of infection, they significantly reduce it;
- If the first signs of genital warts were found, do not self-medicate. Without delay, contact a qualified technician to remove the neoplasm. You should also take care of the health of your sexual partner and inform him of the infection and undergo treatment together;
- Maintain a high level of immunity through sports, proper nutrition, abandonment of bad habits, compliance with sleep and wakefulness;
- In case of uncertainty about the absence of the virus at the sexual partner, it is recommended to use special means of intimate hygiene with an antiviral and immunomodulating effect. By spraying the spray inside the vagina, you can prevent the spread of infection;
- One way to prevent infection is vaccination. A special vaccine, created on the basis of proteins that are part of the structure of oncogenic HPV strains 16 and 18, helps human immunity to identify such a protein as a foreign object and produce antibodies against it. It is believed that the desired effect of vaccination will be achieved if the girl is vaccinated at an early age, before sexual activity begins.