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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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September 2003

Q. I have a 4-year-old step-daughter. Her birth mother has condyloma. My step-daughter was born C-section to avoid contracting this disease. Her birth mother would wash herself then use the same wash cloth on the child. Could this spread the condyloma?

I ask because recently, she has been saying she itches, burns and that it hurts. She also has this little flap of skin that is around her rectum when she is complaining. But it goes away, and comes back later. I have bothered her pediatrician to death and she never gets back with me. All the other doctors tell me that I need to talk to her doctor to get a better answer. Since it's been impossible to get any answers, can you tell me what this could be from?

A. Condyloma, also known as genital warts, are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The typical appearance is of flesh-colored raised, bumpy growths which can occur as one or several lesions in the genital area.

The wart virus can be transmitted by direct contact from person to person, so caution should be taken by adults interacting with a child. If the diagnosis of condyloma is confirmed, treatment can be done by freezing or application of chemicals to destroy the virus and prevent spread.

Have your pediatrician examine the child to determine what is causing the discomfort you describe. Treatment will be based on the diagnosis from the exam.



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