Papillomas: causes and treatment

Papillomas are benign growths on the skin or mucous membranes that appear due to the increased reproduction and growth of epithelial cells. The formation of such growths occurs when the human papillomavirus (HPV) enters the patient's body. In many cases, the formation of pathological elements occurs only several years after the infection of the human body with HPV.

what does papilloma look like on the skin

The reasons for the appearance of papillomas

The main reason for the appearance of papillomas is HPV, and most often a person infected with this virus does not suspect that he has this pathology. Today, the human papillomavirus of various types is present in more than 30% of the world's inhabitants, and not only in adult patients, but also in children (including infants) and even the elderly.

A common cause of the manifestation of signs of HPV is a weakening of the protective function of the immune system of the human body. Currently, dermatologists identify about 60 types of this virus, but only 50% of them are dangerous or extremely dangerous to the health and life of the patient.

The factors that provoke the infection of the human body with HPV include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth of a female carrier of the virus. If a pregnant woman has HPV, her baby may also be infected with HPV after birth.
  • Weakening of the immune system. Pathology may not manifest itself in any way for a long period of time, since it will be suppressed by the protective functions of the immune system. With a decrease in the intensity of protection, the virus is activated in the host's body. The state of immunity is affected by the transferred diseases and infections, vitamin deficiency, stress and nervous breakdowns, lack of sleep and rest.
  • Bad habits. The constant consumption of alcoholic beverages and smoking is not only harm to the health of the whole body, but also an increased risk of developing cancer and neoplasms (both benign and malignant).
  • Promiscuous sexual intercourse. Having a varied sex life and frequent partner changes is a high risk of contracting HPV, since such diseases are often transmitted from person to person through sexual intercourse. The presence of concomitant diseases significantly increases the rate of development of the papilloma virus after infection.
  • Sexual contact with a human carrier of the virus. Papillomas can occur in a healthy person after intercourse (vaginal, anal, oral) with an HPV carrier.
  • Infectious diseases that a healthy person can contract during sexual intercourse. Pathogens such as chlamydia, gonococcus and candida can provoke the appearance of STDs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, candidiasis.

Indirect factors that can lead to the activation of HPV in the carrier's body are the use of oral contraceptives, long-term antibiotic therapy for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, a recent deep neuro-emotional shock or flu.

Types and symptoms of papilloma

The clinical picture (signs) of pathology will depend on the type of papillomas in a particular patient. At the moment, experts distinguish between simple (ordinary and vulgar), plantar, flat, filiform and pointed papillomas.

Simple papillomas

Simple papillomas are divided into ordinary and vulgar. In most cases, they appear on the skin or mucous membranes with the development of HPV strains 26-29, 41, 63 and 77.

In many cases, vulgar papillomas are localized in the area of the fingers and between them, on the backs of the palms. Such formations can also appear in small patients, especially on their knees (babies still cannot walk, so they crawl, and through small cracks in the skin of the knees, infection with the papilloma virus can easily occur).

simple papilloma on the finger

Ordinary papillomas can be represented by single or multiple elements. In the second case, next to the primary growth, secondary ones quickly arise.

Plantar papillomas

Neoplasms on the feet develop in individuals with 1–2 and 4 HPV strains. Such elements resemble corns, but the presence of papilloma is indicated by such signs as external similarity with vulgar papillomas, painful sensations when pressure is applied to the formation of shoes, the absence of natural skin ornament (it is preserved in the presence of corns).

plantar papilloma on the foot

Plantar papillomas are capable of self-destruction, especially if the patient is a small child. Often, small vesicles form around the primary element, which soon transform into new papillomas (mosaic papillomatosis).

Flat papillomas

These formations are called so because of the minimum (no more than a couple of millimeters) protrusion above the skin. They have a rounded or elongated oval shape and are localized in the face (especially around the lips), the upper chest region, and the external genitals. Often flat papillomas are diagnosed in patients in the cervical region.

Closely located papillomas of this type can merge into a single large element, due to which they are clearly visualized on the skin. They are flesh-colored (or slightly darker) in color.

Filiform papillomas

The filamentous growths (acrochords) have an elongated elongated shape and a thin stem (the part that connects them to the skin). They occur in individuals infected with HPV strains 2 and 7. At first, they look like a small bump on the skin, which eventually stretches and sags.

Pointed papillomas

Pointed growths (condylomas) are papillary elements that can be presented singly or multiple. As the warts grow, they merge with each other, which is why their surface has a brighter color and resembles a cockscomb.

genital warts on the skin of the body

Pointed papillomas are triggered only by sexually transmitted types of the virus. They are localized in the genital area and anus, in the groin. In men, they can appear on the penis and inside the urethra, in women - in the vagina and cervix.

Condylomas are characterized by accelerated growth, so the fusion of individual elements and the coverage of a large part of healthy soft tissues often takes only a few days. Also, these formations are prone to relapse (re-emergence) after therapy. Often, when conducting analyzes, concomitant pathologies (chlamydia, mycoplasmosis) are detected.

Types of papillomas

According to experts, today there are more than 100 different types of human papillomavirus. All internal and external clinical signs of pathology will depend on the specific type of HPV that has entered the patient's body.

Some types of papillomavirus are completely safe for human health, and their external manifestations in the form of certain elements are successfully eliminated using the techniques of aesthetic medicine. But there are types of HPV with high oncogenicity that can provoke the formation of malignant oncological neoplasms in the body.

The oncogenic classification of HPV is a subdivision of the types of the virus, taking into account the risk of developing malignant tumors, depending on the subspecies. In total, there are 4 groups of HPV oncogenicity: non-oncogenic (safe), with low, medium, high oncogenic risk.

Non-oncogenic group

Non-oncogenic HPV strains include 1-5, 7, 10, 12, 14-15, 17, 19, 20-24, 26-29, 57. These types of papilloma virus provoke uneven gray warts, "butcher's warts", multiple growths of variousforms, plantar elements.

Low oncogenic risk group

These include 6, 11, 42-44, 53-55 HPV strains. The first two strains are especially common and are often associated with cervical warts. Such growths are recommended for removal.

Group with medium oncogenic risk

These include 31, 33, 35, 52 and 58 HPV strains. Strain 31 is the most common and dangerous, it provokes the appearance of smooth nodes on the mucous membranes of the external genital organs (bowenoid papulosis). It transforms first into a benign tumor, then into a malignant tumor, but in the early stages it is eliminated by immunostimulating therapy.

Group with a high oncogenic risk

The most dangerous strains of HPV are 16, 18, 36, 39, 45, 51, 56, 59 and 68. A particular risk of oncogenicity is associated with strains 16 and 18 (cervical oncology), 51 (flat warts, bowenoid papulosis) strains. These three forms provoke a precancerous condition and require prompt treatment.

How papillomas are transmitted

The human papillomavirus is transmitted by contact and everyday life through a handshake, when using personal hygiene products (towel, soap, washcloth) by several people, when using someone else's clothing (especially underwear), when visiting a public bath.

HPV is also sexually transmitted, and in this case, the likelihood of infection with an oncogenic type of pathology increases. Persons leading a promiscuous sex life and constantly changing sexual partners, homosexual men are especially at risk (with homosexual intercourse, you can easily injure the skin or mucous membrane).

If one of the partners has condylomas, the second (healthy) partner is at risk of contracting HPV, since genital papillomas are easily traumatized and highly infectious elements.

In the presence of papillomavirus in a pregnant woman, it can be transmitted to the baby, especially during the passage of the child through the birth canal of the mother (during childbirth) or during lactation. The transmission of HPV by inheritance from mother to child is likely only if the first has external changes in the genital organs characteristic of pathology.

Infection of newborns during childbirth often leads to the development of laryngeal papillomatosis and subsequent profound respiratory dysfunctions.

Reasons for possible blackening of papillomas

Blackening of papilloma on the skin or mucous membranes can occur in the following cases:

  • the beginning of the infectious process in the human body;
  • trauma to the pathological element;
  • wearing uncomfortable and tight clothing that rubs papilloma;
  • attempts to remove papilloma by burning with liquefied nitrogen, independent use of folk recipes with vinegar, alkalis, phenol;
  • taking certain medications, which caused the necrosis of the growth;
  • the formation of a hemangioma (a benign tumor in children).

Sometimes the blackening of the neoplasm can mean positive changes, for example, the normalization of the hormonal balance of the body, in which the protective functions of the immune system are restored, as well as the subsequent darkening and death of the papilloma.

blackened papilloma on the skin

In some cases, blackened papillomas can dry up on their own and then fall off. In such a situation, the place of separation of the element should be treated with an antiseptic solution in order to avoid the penetration of pathogenic microorganisms, and this place should be sealed with a plaster. If subsequently normal wound healing is noted and no pathological changes appear, this indicates the death of the virus focus and the complete elimination of the build-up.

It so happens that the blackening of a neoplasm is a sign of its transformation into a malignant tumor. Therefore, dermatologists and oncologists recommend timely removal of papillomas on the skin or mucous membranes, without waiting for unpleasant and dangerous symptoms (soreness, blackening, changes in the size of the element).

If the papilloma has turned black and dried up, but persisted, you need to seek medical help. The doctor will examine the patient, prescribe the necessary tests to identify the danger of changes in education and prescribe a suitable individual treatment program.

Hardware methods of papillomas treatment

Modern hardware techniques allow you to get rid of papillomas, while stopping the spread and recurrence of the disease. The hardware technologies for the treatment of papillomas include cryodestruction, electrocoagulation, radiosurgery and laser removal.


Cryodestruction is a procedure in which tissues are exposed to low temperatures, which leads to the destruction of pathogenic structures. High-quality cryodestruction of papilloma not only allows you to stop the growth and development of the element, but also prevents its reappearance.

With the help of cold treatment, benign and flat neoplasms, tumors on the mucous membranes of various organs are effectively eliminated.

The procedure for freezing papillomas with liquid nitrogen is carried out sequentially in 3 stages:

  1. Preliminary stage. With a low pain threshold in a patient, an extensive tumor size or its localization in sensitive areas, anesthesia is used. Also, local anesthesia is used when carrying out cryodestruction for a child to avoid discomfort and discomfort.
  2. The stage of tissue freezing. A special applicator is applied to the problem area where the papilloma is located, with the help of which liquid nitrogen acts on the tissues. During a 2 minute session, the patient may feel a slight tingling sensation in the cold treatment area.
  3. The final stage. After handling liquid nitrogen, the specialist treats the area to be treated with a disinfectant.


Electrocoagulation is a procedure during which cauterization or elimination of benign tumors occurs by exposing the affected area to an electric current of a certain strength and frequency. Electrocoagulation for the treatment of papillomas is carried out using an apparatus with an electrode / loop heated to high temperatures under the influence of an electric current.

The technique of performing manipulations depends on the thickness, size and shape of the pathological element. The specialist selects the most suitable device nozzle in terms of efficiency, with the help of which he controls the parameters of the electric current (strength, frequency) for electrocoagulation.

Special nozzles in the form of a metal loop or an electrode with a spherical thickening at the end, allow you to direct the impact strictly to the affected area. Before the procedure, an adult patient is given local anesthesia, and children are given general anesthesia.

With the help of an electrode or a loop, the doctor acts on the neoplasm or removes its leg, then burns out the element (or its base) using direct or alternating high-frequency current. During the procedure, the dermal capillaries coagulate, which reduces the risk of bleeding and disinfects the integument to prevent wound infection. After the elimination of the papilloma, an antiseptic treatment of the desired area is performed.


During radio wave therapy, an electrode is directed to the papilloma area (it does not touch the integument), which emits high-frequency energy. A stream of low temperature and high frequency radio waves passes through tissues and cuts off abnormal cells without damaging healthy soft tissues. The technique is quite radical, but it is highly effective.

Next, the specialist directs the tungsten electrode of the device to the area of localization of the element, with the help of which the epithelial tissues of the growth are heated and undergo complete destruction. During the session, nearby vascular structures are cauterized to avoid bleeding. A wound remains at the site of the removed education. After removal, the abnormal tissue can be sent for histological analysis.

After completing the manipulations, the patient goes home. The doctor preliminarily informs him about the rules for caring for the wound area. Washing the treatment area during the recovery period is performed without a washcloth with warm water and soap. At this time, you should refuse to visit the sauna, bath, solarium, beach (exclude exposure to direct sunlight).

For disinfecting the wound, you can use a solution of potassium permanganate. You will also need to temporarily abandon the application of cosmetic compositions to the procedure area.

After the session, the doctor can prescribe antiviral drugs and vitamin-mineral complexes to the patient in order to reduce the likelihood of recurrence of papilloma. The crust formed on the wound leaves on its own after about a week. If redness, compaction, tissue swelling in the affected area appears, it is recommended to visit a specialist.

Laser removal

Removal of papillomas with a laser is a modern and fairly common treatment option for this pathology. The procedure is not complicated and takes about 15 minutes (during this time, one of the elements is completely processed).

Before the start of the procedure, the doctor conducts antiseptic treatment of the area of the planned correction and applies an anesthetic composition (especially with a low pain threshold of the patient).

The procedure does not cause severe pain, but some patients may feel some discomfort. Laser destruction of papillomas involves burning out the neoplasm with a laser beam. In the course of the session, the evaporation of the contents of the cells is carried out in layers, as a result, the complete removal of the pathological element occurs.

In the area of localization of the formation after laser manipulations, a small wound remains. The doctor gives advice on the proper care of the affected area and directs the patient home.

In most cases, laser removal of papillomas allows you to achieve a stable result without relapse. To minimize the risk of poor-quality procedure, carefully choose a clinic and a specialist, ask to see licenses and documents on the doctor's qualifications, clarify information about the equipment used and find reviews on the Internet.

Medicinal treatment of papillomas

For the treatment of papillomas, some pharmaceutical medicines and other auxiliary compositions are used, which are not only available, but also highly effective against growths.

It should be understood that the elimination of visible signs of papilloma does not always mean the complete removal of the virus. The latter is resistant to treatment, so the risk of relapse is high. For maximum results and complete therapy, a complex effect on the focus of the problem is required, including the intake of immunomodulating and antiviral drugs.


In pharmacy chains, you can purchase a composition designed to remove warts and other pathological skin elements. The drug contains an extract of a medicinal plant (celandine), as well as sodium and potassium alkalis, the action of which creates a local burn in the area of tissue growth.

The drug should be used as follows: first, the skin around the papilloma must be covered with a nourishing cream, then the medicine should be applied to the neoplasm using a special spatula (included with the composition). But such treatment has a side effect (scarring of the area that was treated with this drug is possible).

Celandine-based formulations can give both a pronounced result and a minimal effect, because different manufacturers use different concentrations of active alkalis.

Castor oil

This product contains castor oil, which is why it is actively used to remove plantar papillomas. For use, you must first steam the skin on the legs, then apply oil to the problem area of the feet and seal this place with a plaster. After 30 minutes, you can remove the plaster and gently scrape off the pathological element. The procedure will need to be carried out about 10 times to obtain at least a minimal effect.

Castor is not a proven remedy for papillomas, but it helps to significantly soften rough skin and the growth of the soles of the feet.

Prevention of the appearance of papillomas

According to research, at least 75% of the human population is infected with HPV. This means that 25% of this virus is not yet in the body, so they can avoid the appearance of papillomas if they do not allow infection. To do this, you should:

  • Walking in public places with high humidity (baths, swimming pools, water parks) only in shoes, as in them HPV feels comfortable and easily infects people.
  • Try not to contact people who have a lot of papillomas, not to use their personal belongings.
  • Protect yourself during intercourse (unfortunately, this only reduces the risk of infection, but does not reduce it to zero).
  • Observe the rules of personal hygiene - ventilate shoes, disinfect bathrooms, wash regularly, use a personal towel.

However, even if you are already infected with HPV, papillomas can be prevented. Warts appear due to the weakening of the body, so if your immunity is strong, you will not have papillomas.

To maintain the body's natural defenses, you should:

  • Do not overcool, especially try to keep your legs and chest warm.
  • Eat right and balanced.
  • Avoid severe and persistent stress.
  • Don't eat too much sweet, spicy or salty food.
  • Avoid infectious diseases (colds, flu. )
  • Take medications only as directed by your doctor.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol too often.
  • Walk more in the fresh air, do not neglect physical activity.
  • Ventilate the apartment or house regularly.
  • Immediately treat any diseases, do not tolerate them "on your feet", even with a common cold, visit a doctor.
  • If colds follow one another, it is better to visit an immunologist.

You should be especially careful about your immunity during pregnancy, when the body is seriously weakened.

Vaccination against papillomas

Because HPV is a virus, it can be suppressed, just like the flu virus. For this, there are several vaccines that are active against some types of papillomas. In many countries of the world, vaccination is mandatory - vaccinations against papillomas are put on a par with vaccinations against measles.

Vaccination is recommended at the age of 9–17 years, before the onset of sexual activity, in order to prevent infection. The vaccine is administered in three stages - all three injections must be delivered within a year. The vaccine itself is very effective - it forms immunity in 96% of vaccinated people.

However, there are also pitfalls. The vaccine protects against only 4 types of HPV, and there are more than a hundred of them. Of course, it saves you from the most popular viruses, but you still need to observe precautions and personal hygiene rules.

Reviews on the treatment of papillomas

Hardware treatment

In general, reviews about hardware removal of papillomas are very contradictory. Even about different methods, people write differently - for someone the laser completely removed everything, and for someone after that, the papilloma grew again. The same can be said about any other methods - it seems that the success of treatment depends not on the technique, but on the individual characteristics of the organism. But after several courses of hardware procedures, it is usually possible to get rid of papillomas. As a rule, people resort to laser removal or cryodestruction - these procedures are the most popular and seem to be safer for patients.

Home treatment

Many people resort to different methods of treating papillomas at home. There are very few reviews in which people write that methods like onion peel or kerosene helped them. This shows that folk remedies are mostly effective only for small warts, without a deep stem.

There are much fewer reviews of tools like a pencil, and they are similar to reviews about hardware treatment - for some, these tools help, but for others they do not.