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Genital Warts - Can They be Treated?

Dr. Rasya Dixit 93% (185 ratings)
MD - Dermatology, MBBS
Dermatologist, Bangalore  •  16 years experience
Genital Warts - Can They be Treated?

Soft growth occurring on the genitals are known as Genital Warts. Genital warts are infections that are transmitted through physical intimacy (STI). These are caused by certain behaviours of the human papillomavirus (HPV). These growths on the skin cause discomfort, pain and itching. They are particularly harmful for women since certain types of HPV might also cause cancer of the vulva and cervix. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Due to this, sexually active people are most vulnerable to various health complications, including genital warts. Prevention of this infection requires essential protection and treatment.

Symptoms:

Transmission of genital warts occurs through sexual activity. Development of warts occurs several weeks after the infection. Sometimes, it is not possible to view them with the naked eye. The top of the growths might resemble a cauliflower and might feel slightly bumpy or smooth while touching. The person who is infected may have a single wart or a cluster of warts.

In males, the genital warts may appear in the following regions.

  1. Groin
  2. Scrotum
  3. Penis
  4. Thighs
  5. Inside or around the anus

In females, they might occur in:

  1. Cervix
  2. Outside the vagina or anus
  3. Inside the vagina or anus

In a case where the person has had oral sexual contact with the infected person, the genital warts might appear on the mouth, lips, throat or tongue of the person. In case the genital warts are not visible, the other related symptoms include:

  1. Itching
  2. Vaginal Discharge
  3. Bleeding
  4. Burning

Treatment

Even though the genital warts disappear with time, it is not possible to eliminate the virus once it is in the bloodstream. This would result in several outbreaks during the entire course of life. This is a vital reason why the symptoms should be managed so that transmission of the disease is prevented. Treatment is possible only for relieving symptoms that are painful or for minimizing their appearance. Some topical wart treatments prescribed by the doctor may include:

  1. Podofilox and Podophyllin (Condylox)
  2. Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)
  3. Imiquimod (Aldara)

Some surgeries that the physician might conduct to remove genital warts that do not disappear with time include:

  1. Interferon injections
  2. Laser treatments
  3. Cryosurgery, or freezing warts
  4. Electrocautery, or burning warts with electric currents
  5. Excision, or cutting off warts

Periodic Pap smears after the initial treatment is recommended for women with genital warts to monitor changes in the cervix.

If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.

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