If your OB/GYN determines that abnormal cells or lesions are present on vaginal structures such as the cervix or labia, the next step may be to treat them with cryotherapy.
At Marina OB/GYN, we can detect and treat vaginal abnormalities with relatively painless procedures in an outpatient setting to maximize patient comfort and convenience.
At Marina OB/GYN, located in Marina Del Rey and Hawthorne, California, we believe in safeguarding your feminine health. Dr. Jamie Lipeles is an expert in the use of cryotherapy and committed to providing his patients with the most effective and up-to-date treatment options. Women throughout Marina Del Rey, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Venice, Westchester, El Segundo, Playa Vista, Culver City and the greater South Bay area seek Dr. Lipeles' skill in performing cryotherapy and other leading-edge treatments.
Cryotherapy is the use of extremely cold temperatures during a medical procedure. In gynecology, this type of therapy is often used to destroy abnormal cells and prevent the spread of certain types of infection.
One of the most common reasons to have cryotherapy done by your provider is to treat certain types of HPV virus that cause the presence of genital warts. In fact, cryotherapy is a game-changer in removing genital warts caused by HPV. This process is also known as genital wart freezing.
Cryotherapy can also be used to eliminate certain types of lesions that may appear within the vagina and on the labia. Abnormal cells, warts, or lesions may be detected through the use of an annual or bi-annual PAP smear, a colposcopy procedure, or visual examination during a routine women's wellness visit at your OB/GYN.
Cryotherapy has been proven effective at treating cervical dysplasia and other types of conditions that involve lesions or abnormal cell and tissue growth. It can be used almost anywhere on the body, including the vagina, labia, and other genital organs.
The procedure can be performed in a short period of time, with minimal side effects. It is also effective when used against genital warts. Because of the precision in which the procedure is performed, there is minimal damage to tissues surrounding the affected area. If a patient has precancerous cells, the doctor may choose to perform a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) or conization procedure (removal of a portion of the cervix) in an attempt to excise the healthy tissue around the lesion rather than cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy has changed the way doctors treat warts and lesions that are present on or near the female genitalia. Previous treatments, including acid and topical medications, were painful, messy and often ineffective.
Cryotherapy, however, offers a quick and simple fix that takes just minutes to perform. In addition, the procedure takes place in an outpatient setting with no hospital stay. This type of therapy is very precise and only a specific area is targeted. It is minimally invasive because it only targets the area that is affected by the abnormal cells, tumors, or lesions. This eliminates the chance of damaging surrounding tissues that may not be affected by the infection. Because of this, there is a potentially reduced risk of complications and a minimal risk of infection. Cryotherapy also offers a faster healing time than most other procedures.
Cryotherapy has a high safety profile, making it suitable for the vast majority of patients. At Marina OB/GYN, we look to the latest advancements in medicine to give our patients great results with as little pain, hassle, or inconvenience as possible.
Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery, uses freezing temperatures to destroy abnormal cells and initiate healing of certain types of vaginal lesions.
The freezing temperatures seal the tissues near the abnormal cells to protect them from the spread of the virus or infection. This closes any open wound that may result from the procedure and creates an environment that accelerates the healing process.
Cryotherapy freezes and destroys genital warts caused by HPV. After treating genital warts with cryotherapy, the treated wart will shrivel and fall off naturally.
On the day of treatment, a blister may form on the wart approximately 3 to 6 hours after treatment. This is considered normal and not a cause for concern. Do not pick or pop the blister. It is important to allow the healing process to happen naturally. The cryotherapy blister may also darken or turn black due to the presence of a small amount of blood. Again, this is not a cause for concern.
The total healing process for wart removal generally takes 7 to 14 days, however each patient heals at a different rate. Patients should abstain from intimate activities until the genital warts have disappeared completely. While much of the living tissue that contains the HPV wart virus dies upon treatment, there is likely to still be some virus still present in the affected area until the wart has fully cleared up after treatment.
The cold temperature used for killing abnormal cells in cryotherapy has a slight numbing effect that helps to minimize pain and discomfort. Some patients report the feeling is similar to placing an ice cube on the treated area of skin. Similarly, a mild burning sensation may be experienced as the frozen tissue thaws.
Cryotherapy Side Effects
For cryotherapy of the vulva and labia, the patient may feel a slight sense of discomfort during the procedure, but there are rarely any reports of severe pain after the treatment.
Temporary numbness, redness, tingling, blisters, darkening of the lesion, and mild skin irritation may occur after cryotherapy. These size effects tend to be minimal and easily managed. There is nothing that needs to be done, other than allow the treated area to heal on its own. It is best to avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes if it would constrict the treated site.
For cryotherapy of the cervix, the patient can expect 1-2 days of cramping and between 1 to 5 weeks of discharge from the vagina, depending on the extent of cryotherapy that is needed. The spotting or discharge after cervical cryotherapy may be moderate to heavy at first in some patients, but will gradually lighten over the coming days and weeks post-treatment. Patients that experience discharge may use panti liners during this time. However, tampons and tampon alternatives such as the cup or natural sea sponge inserts are best avoided during the healing process.
If you have any questions or concerns about cryotherapy or post-treatment, Dr. Jamie Lipeles will be pleased to help. Reach out to our office at any time. Your safety and wellness is important to us.
Cryotherapy is a fast, easy, and highly effective treatment for certain vaginal abnormalities and genital warts caused by the HPV virus. For more information, please call Marina OB/GYN or book an appointment with our easy online scheduling system.