Angiokeratoma

What is Angiokeratoma?

It is unusual tiny dark spots on the skin that are rough to touch and mostly appear on clusters. It can appear in many parts of the body such as the penis, vulva, scrotum, and labia majora.

Angiokeratoma is different to that of the genital wart. Angiokeratoma is typically harmless but it could also indicate an underlying medical condition such as the Fabry disease. If you have a lot of angiokeratoma in your body and does not seem to go away, then most likely you need to see your doctor. (1, 2, 3)

Angiokeratoma Pictures

A reddish to brownish spot medically called angiokeratoma image photo picture

Image 1: A reddish to brownish spot medically called angiokeratoma.
Picture Source: www.dermnetnz.org

Angiokeratoma that forms in clusters image photo picture

Picture 2: Angiokeratoma that forms in clusters.
Photo Source: images.medicinenet.com

Photo 3: Angiokeratoma on the male patient’s genitalia.
Image Source: www.researchgate.net

Angiokeratoma can be extremely unsightly and warrants immediate removal image photo picture

Image 4: Angiokeratoma can be extremely unsightly and warrants immediate removal.
Picture Source: dixion-healthcare.com

Angiokeratoma causes

What causes angiokeratoma? It is caused by dilation of the blood vessels near the epidermis (topmost layer of the skin). Different types of angiokeratoma have different causes.

  1. Solitary angiokeratoma – It is caused by previous injuries in the surface or near the surface of the skin.
  2. Angiokeratoma of Fordyce – It is passed down in families, but is extremely rare. It occurs in one in every 60,000 people.
  3. Other possible causes include high blood pressure, hemorrhoids, inguinal hernia, varicocele, and other conditions that affect the local blood vessels. (5, 7, 8)

Types of angiokeratoma

  • Solitary angiokeratoma – as the name suggests, it is solitary or alone and usually found in the upper and lower extremities, specifically the arms and legs.
  • Angiokeratoma of Fordyce – It is the type of angiokeratoma that appears on the genitalia such as the vulva and scrotum. It appears in clusters and prone to bleeding when scratched.
  • Angiokeratoma of mibelli – it is caused by dilated blood vessels near the top layer of the skin. As time passes by, the angiokeratoma hardens and thickens leading to hyperkeratosis.
  • Angiokeratoma corporis diffusum – This type of angiokeratoma indicates an underlying medical condition.
  • Angiokeratoma circumscriptum – A rare form of angiokeratoma, which typically appears in a cluster and found on the torso and legs. As time passes by, it hardens, becomes darker, and changes its shape. (3, 4, 5, 6)

Signs and Symptoms

  • Tiny bumps that look like warts
  • The bump appears alone or in clusters
  • Thick/hard to touch
  • Dome-like shape
  • Dark in color such as black, purple, blue, and red. Angiokeratoma that has just appeared on the skin is light in color but as time passes by, it darkens.
  • Angiokeratoma on the genitals causes redness in the large area or the scrotum and vulva. In fact, it is prone to bleeding especially when scratched.
  • Other associated symptoms include pain in the hands and feet, ringing in the ears, visual problems (cloudiness of vision), stomachache, not sweating properly, and the urge to defecate after a meal. (4, 5, 6, 7)

Diagnosis

Angiokeratoma does not cause harm to the body. If you have one or a few of them, you can opt not to see your doctor. However, if it appears in clusters and continues to multiply as time passes by, then you need to see your doctor. More so, if your angiokeratoma is accompanied by other alarming symptoms such as the ones mentioned above.

What the doctor usually does is he/she takes a tissue sample to accurately diagnose the root cause of angiokeratoma. An angiokeratoma is cut from the skin and sent to the laboratory for further analysis (biopsy). A GLA gene test can also be performed in patients with angiokeratoma of Fordyce. This is to detect gene mutation. (2, 8, 9)

Angiokeratoma Treatment

Angiokeratoma typically does not require any forms of treatment, especially if it is not causing any discomfort and does not interfere with your day to day activities.

However, if you are bothered by its presence or it tends to bleed when scratched, then you can have it removed. Many people have their angiokeratoma removed for cosmetic reasons.

Angiokeratoma removal is available in various ways. They are the following:

  1. Electrodessication and curettage – A local anesthesia is used to numb the area and an electric cautery tool is used to remove and scrape angiokeratoma.
  2. Laser removal – A laser is used to destroy the blood vessels responsible for angiokeratoma.
  3. Cryotherapy – the angiokeratoma is freeze which causes death to the tissue responsible for angiokeratoma.
  4. Injection – it is usually done in people with angiokeratoma of Fordyce. A fabrazyme injection is given to the patient to help the body break down the extra fat cell.
  5. Medications – The doctor might prescribe some types of drugs not to directly get rid of angiokeratoma but to help in the management of associated symptoms such as hand and foot pain. Examples are Neurontin and carbamazepine. (2, 5, 9, and 10)

Natural Remedies for Angiokeratoma

There are natural remedies and home treatment for angiokeratoma. As a matter of fact, most of them can be found right in the comfort of your home. Some of the things that can help improve your angiokeratoma include the following:

  • Coconut oil – It has been used since time immemorial in the treatment of various skin conditions including angiokeratoma. Coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. To use coconut oil, rub a few drops of coconut oil to the target area for at least two to three times a day. You might also want to mix coconut oil and lavender oil as lavender also has antibacterial property. The essential oils work in synergy to achieve the desired result in just a short period of time.
  • Apple cider vinegar – it is an all-natural cure for angiokeratoma and other types of skin-related conditions. It has antibacterial property, which makes it effective in fighting bacteria but is gentle on the skin. Apply apple cider vinegar on the affected area at least two times a day and you will surely see a significant improvement.
  • Garlic – it is a common ingredient in home cooking, which is jam-packed with health benefits. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which makes it perfect for the treatment and management of angiokeratoma and other types of skin disease.

Angiokeratoma usually does not require treatment. However, if you feel like it is unsightly and causes discomfort, you can have it removed using the methods mentioned above. (4, 8, 9, 10)

References:

  1. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1056046-overview
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angiokeratoma
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/angiokeratoma
  4. https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/angiokeratomas/
  5. http://www.aocd.org/page/Angiokeratoma
  6. https://www.dovemed.com/diseases-conditions/angiokeratoma-scrotum/
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/angiokeratoma
  8. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1055957-treatment
  9. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/dth.12558
  10. https://cancerwall.com/angiokeratoma/
2.7/5 - (13 votes)

Published by Dr. Raj MD under Diseases and Conditions.
Article was last reviewed on August 6th, 2018.

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