The treatment for genital warts in pregnancy is often a little different from the treatments used for a non-pregnant person. Some medications may not be safe for use on or inside the vagina when a woman is pregnant. Instead, doctors may recommend such treatments as freezing the genital warts, which is referred to as cryotherapy, or laser removal. Doctors may also recommend treatment with a topical drug called trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Many of the other commonly used topical treatments are off limits because they have the potential to harm a woman’s unborn child.
One of the most commonly used methods for treating genital warts during pregnancy is cryotherapy. This treatment involves the application of liquid nitrogen to the genital warts. The genital warts are frozen and then allowed to gradually thaw. After the treatment, the tissue that makes up the genital warts gradually dies and falls off. In many cases, however, one cryotherapy treatment is not enough to get rid of genital warts; repeat treatments are often necessary.
Laser removal is also among the most common treatments for genital warts in pregnancy. For this treatment, intense light is concentrated on the warts. This destroys the wart tissue, without harming the developing baby. In most cases, laser genital wart removal can be accomplished without damaging the surrounding body tissues and may cause less pain that cryotherapy. It may, however, prove to be a more expensive option, and there is some chance the wart tissue may eventually return.
TCA is a topical treatment that is also used for genital warts in pregnancy. Many of the other topical treatments are not used during pregnancy since they can be dangerous for the unborn child. Unfortunately, some topical medications can be absorbed through the skin and cause birth defects.
Treating genital warts does not get rid of the virus that causes them, however. This means treatments are aimed at removing the wart tissue, not curing the patient of genital warts. The virus may eventually cause new warts and can be transmitted to another person.
Some women may choose to wait until they have given birth rather than opting to treat genital warts in pregnancy. In some cases, this may work out well. In others, however, genital warts may become large enough to impede the baby’s movement through the birth canal, or they may cause excessive bleeding. In such a case, a doctor may recommend a Cesarean section instead.