Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Caution: Do not use nonprescription wart removal products to treat genital warts. These products are not intended for the genital area and may cause serious burning.
You can use at-home care to feel more comfortable.
It is important to remember that most infections are minor, without serious complications. Some cases of HPV and genital warts disappear without treatment, although human papillomavirus (HPV) may still be present in your body's cells.
Medicine may be used to destroy bothersome genital warts, relieve your symptoms, and reduce the amount of area affected by warts, particularly when the warts are:
Topical medicine often is the first treatment. For safety, a doctor will apply the topical medicines that could damage the skin around the warts. You can apply other medicines at home. If warts return after one course of treatment with topical medicine, they are treated again only if there are clear reasons for retreatment.
Medicines are not used to treat abnormal cell changes found on a Pap test. For more information on treating abnormal cell changes caused by high-risk HPV, see the topic Abnormal Pap Test.
Treatment applied at home
The following medicines can be applied to the affected area (topical treatment) at home:
Do not use these medicines during pregnancy.
Imiquimod and podofilox appear to be the most effective medicine options that can be applied at home. Read the instructions carefully before using these medicines.
Treatment applied by a doctor
Treatment by a doctor can:
Medicines applied by a doctor include:
Treatment during pregnancy
Treatment for pregnant women includes trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and bichloroacetic acid (BCA), which have been found to be both effective and safe. Podophyllin resin, interferon, and fluorouracil should not be used during pregnancy because they can harm the fetus.
What to think about
Avoid sexual contact in the treated area until the area is completely healed.
Some medicine may be more expensive than others.
Warts on the vulva or penis that do not go away on their own or after treatment often are biopsied to rule out precancerous or cancerous conditions.
Removing genital warts does not cure an HPV infection. Although warts may go away with topical treatment, they may return because the HPV virus may still be in the body's cells.
Even if genital warts have been removed or destroyed:
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