ZocdocAnswersDoes cryotherapy of genital warts change skin pigmentation?

Question

Does cryotherapy of genital warts change skin pigmentation?

I'm going to be treated soon by my doctor for genital wart removal, using cryotherapy. What should I expect in the way of appearance afterwards? Will it cause my skin to look different or change color? I don't want to have spots that I have to explain to my sex partners for the rest of my life.

Answer

Congratulations for deciding to pursue treatment for your genital warts. Genital warts are an extremely common sexually transmitted infection caused by the human papilloma virus. The large, fleshy warts that the virus produces are cosmetically undesirable and also are highly contagious and can be easily passed to a sexual partner. There are several treatment options for genital warts, all involving the application of medications, irritating chemicals, or freezing to the surface of the wart. All methods are quite effective if properly done, resulting in clearing up of the warts. Hypopigmentation (lightly colored spots where the wart used to be) or hyperpigmentation (darker colored spots) are a known complication of most of the available treatment methods for genital warts. This is likely due to the skin inflammation that occurs after, say, freezing of the wart. Luckily, the hypo or hyperpigmentation tends to get better over a period of a few months and usually fades away, although not always. However, hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation is nearly always more cosmetically desirable than the quite cosmetically unattractive genital warts. It is also important to remove the warts to prevent their transmission. If you have further concerns about the procedure, you should speak with the doctor who will be performing the cryotherapy.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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