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What are the Best Treatments for Genital Warts?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Genital warts can result from an infection of the human papilloma virus (HPV), one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. HPV cannot be cured, and it is possible for a person to experience recurring outbreaks for life. Treatments for genital warts should be initiated by a doctor; over-the-counter and home remedies are strongly discouraged by most health-care professionals. Common treatments for genital warts include medications that suppress HPV and surgical treatments to shrink or excise persistent growths. By following a doctor's orders and scheduling regular checkups, the frequency and severity of outbreaks can be reduced significantly in most patients.

A person who notices unusual growths on or near the penis, scrotum, vagina, or anus should schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. A gynecologist or dermatologist can order laboratory HPV tests to confirm a diagnosis. If warts are internal, very small, or appear suspicious, a biopsy may be needed to make sure they are not cancerous.

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Once an accurate diagnosis is made, the doctor can discuss different treatments for genital warts with his or her patient. Warts that are sporadic and do not cause excessive itching can usually be treated with topical ointments or creams. Patients are often prescribed ointments that contain suppressive agents such as imiquimod or podophyllin, to be applied several times a day for about three weeks. In addition, a doctor may decide to treat warts in his or her office by applying a caustic solution, such as trichloroacetic acid, directly onto lesions to erode them.

Surgical treatments for genital warts are very effective at removing persistent or painful masses. Electrocautery, which involves applying intense heat and electricity to the affected area, is frequently performed on large masses to burn them away. Cryotherapy can also be used on sporadic external warts to freeze tissue, which eventually blisters and falls off. Warts that do not respond to other treatment measures may need to be surgically excised with a scalpel.

People who have frequent outbreaks may need to receive additional treatments for genital warts. Laser therapy is a popular choice for frequently recurring warts, as it can be performed frequently without leaving scars. An intense beam of light and carbon dioxide is focused on each wart for several seconds to destroy tissue.

Even when HPV and genital warts are well-controlled, the virus can eventually cause cancer. It is essential for a patient to attend regular doctor visits to check for signs of malignancies. Physicians strongly urge people who know they have HPV to inform their sexual partners, use condoms, and avoid sexual activity during active outbreaks. In many countries, young people who do not yet have the virus can get HPV vaccinations that greatly reduce the risk of developing genital warts.

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fBoyle
Post 3

Which treatment has the least chance of wart recurrence? Or is this a risk with all genital wart treatments? I know that recurrence is a possibility with cryotherapy but what about other treatments?

SarahGen
Post 2

@literally45-- Yes, I have used cream for genital warts and I know which cream you're talking about.

I think that topical creams are great genital wart treatments because they are pain-free, work well and don't have many side effects. But it can take some time. In my case, it was just a few weeks but my doctor had told me at the time that it might take months and that I have to keep using it.

You should give your doctor a call and update him or her on how you're doing. But I suspect that you just need to use the cream for longer. Also, ask your doctor if there is a more potent version of the cream.

literally45
Post 1

Has anyone used cream treatment for HPV caused genital warts?

I was diagnosed with genital warts a few weeks ago and my doctor gave me a cream. The cream is supposed to activate my immune system and help my system fight the infection and shrink the warts.

I have been using the cream as directed but I have not noticed any difference with the warts so far. Does this mean that the cream isn't working?

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