Genital Warts Treatment: Dealing With HPV

One symptom of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is genital warts. Their appearance varies from white, pink, or grey flat patches to bumps in clusters, and sometimes they can’t even be seen at all. They appear on the internal and external genitals, and in the skin around this region. Genital warts can also be found in the throat of someone who’s engaged in oral sex with an infected person. It’s important to note that even when the warts aren’t visible, the HPV virus is still present, so the infection can be passed on.

Often, genital warts will go away on their own; however, they may return again in the future. If a person has the warts, he/she may choose not to treat them and wait; before long, the warts may disappear. If he/she would like to remove the genital warts, the doctor’s office is a good place to start.

Treating Genital Warts with Creams

Non-prescription genital wart creams and other treatments should not be used (source – These creams may have negative side effects such as burning or scarring.

A doctor may prescribe genital wart treatment creams that can be applied at home. He/she may also choose to apply a cream in the doctor’s office if the cream could cause burning if applied outside of the infected areas.

Multiple treatments may be necessary.

Stubborn Genital Wart Removal

Some genital warts won’t respond to basic cream treatments. There are a few options in these cases.

  • Laser Treatment – Particularly stubborn warts often respond to this type of treatment.
  • Cryotherapy – Freezing the warts can also be successful, though multiple treatments may be necessary.
  • Interferon Injection – A doctor injects a chemical, called interferon, into the warts. This is a new treatment method.

A person infected with genital warts should talk to his/her doctor about treatment options. The doctor will consider the appearance of the warts, possible side effects, and the patient’s preference. In addition, pregnant women are not eligible for some genital wart removal creams due to possible side effects for the mother and fetus.

Genital Wart Prevention

Anyone suffering from genital warts, or who has had them in the past, needs to be aware that the HPV virus is contagious whether or not the warts are showing. If the warts have been treated successfully, it only means that the symptom is gone, not the disease.

Persons with HPV need to inform their sexual partners about the disease. Condoms can prevent the spread of the disease, but are not 100% effective as they don’t cover all the area that may be exposed to skin-to-skin contact during intercourse.

Any two people engaging in a sexual relationship should discuss risk factors for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If a person believes his/her partner may have been exposed to HPV, or may be at risk for it (risk factors include having unprotected sex and having sex with multiple partners), he/she should not have sexual intercourse with that person. Both parties should be tested for all STIs, including HPV, to ensure safety.

Genital warts can be treated, though the underlying HPV infection cannot be cured. Many options are available for those suffering from this STI, and the option best for any patient should be discussed with his/her family doctor.