What is cryotherapy for genital warts?

Cryotherapy for Genital Warts
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Cryotherapy for genital warts: Overview

Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) destroys genital warts by freezing them. A doctor applies a very cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen, around the warts to freeze them. You may have a mild or moderate burning sensation during treatment.

How well does cryotherapy for genital warts work?

Cryotherapy can be helpful in removing genital warts. Most of the time it removes warts. But warts may grow back. More than one treatment is often needed.

What are the risks of cryotherapy for genital warts?

Some risks of cryotherapy include pain during and after treatment, skin color changes, blisters, and skin irritation.

The number and severity of side effects depend on the number of freeze/thaw cycles used during cryotherapy and how large an area was treated.

What can you expect as you recover from cryotherapy for genital warts?

Recovery time depends on the location and number of warts removed. Healing usually occurs in 1 to 3 weeks. After treatment, you may have:

  • Irritation, soreness, or mild pain.
  • Swelling.
  • Dead tissue that sheds off.
  • Sores or blisters.

It is best to avoid sexual contact until the treated area heals.

Why is cryotherapy for genital warts done?

Cryotherapy may be done when genital warts are visible, growing in a small area, or bothersome. It's usually not used when genital warts are widespread.

How is cryotherapy for genital warts done?

  • First, the tissue is frozen with a very cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen. A doctor applies liquid nitrogen to and around the warts. Then the tissue is allowed to thaw. The tissue is frozen again, if needed.
  • You may have a mild to moderate burning sensation during the treatment.

Cryotherapy is usually done in your doctor's office or clinic. You may need to have multiple visits and treatments. A magnifying tool may be used to see the abnormal tissue better.

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