caused by the most common
types of human papillomavirus (HPV) may go away on
their own without treatment. For this and other reasons, experts sometimes have
different approaches to treating genital warts.
If you're a woman, you may have no symptoms at all, or you may experience:
A greenish yellow, frothy vaginal discharge with a pronounced odor
Vaginal itching or irritation
Discomfort during urination
Pain in the lower abdomen
If you're a man, you'll probably have no symptoms, or you may experience some penile irritation, discomfort when urinating, or discharge.
Genital warts may disappear without treatment.
This is the natural course of many genital warts.
large areas of warts is difficult and may cause scarring.
for genital warts does not eliminate the HPV infection. You may still be able
to spread the infection. Condoms can help reduce the risk of HPV
Treatment of genital warts can
be painful, and warts may return after treatment. Warts that return after being treated usually
are not treated again unless you want to be retreated. If you do, you would
usually choose a different form of treatment.
Some doctors believe that treatment for genital warts will help
prevent the spread of HPV infections and keep genital warts from
Types of treatment
Treatments for genital warts
include medicines, freezing, laser, or surgery.
The type of
medical treatment for genital warts will depend on:
The number, size, and location of
The side effects of treatment.
The skill of the
doctor for each treatment option.
The cost of treatment, which
varies depending on:
The cost of medicine.
specialized equipment used.
The number of treatments needed.
The problems caused by the warts (such as
blockage of the
If you are pregnant. Some wart medicines should not be used
Doctors often recommend medicine
applied to warts (topical drug treatment) as the first choice of treatment. A
doctor will apply the medicines that have a high risk of causing damage to the
skin around the warts. You can apply others at home.
Caution: Do not use nonprescription wart removal products to
treat genital warts. These products are not intended to be used in the genital
area and may cause serious burning.
Surgery and other treatment
Surgery to remove
genital warts may be done when:
Medicine treatment has failed and the
removal of warts is considered necessary.
What to think about
Without treatment, external
genital warts may remain unchanged, increase in size or number, or go away.
Studies show that no one treatment is completely successful. All treatments have advantages and disadvantages. The
benefits and effectiveness of each treatment need to be compared with the side
effects and cost.
Treatment of warts usually requires a series
of applications rather than a single treatment.
Warts in moist
areas usually respond better to treatments applied to the area, such as creams
Warts on dry skin may respond best to freezing
(cryotherapy) or surgical removal.
be done when genital warts are visible and bothersome and are growing in a
small area. Repeat treatments may be needed to remove all wart
The success of surgery is related to the number of warts.
The success rate is higher and additional treatments are less likely to be
needed when surgery is done on fewer and smaller warts. But surgery is
less likely to be needed for a few small areas of warts. Surgery may require
Small areas of warts can be quickly treated with
removal methods, such as cryotherapy or surgical
Self-applied medicines may be used for larger areas of
warts that need longer or repeated treatments.