How Long Before Genital Warts Go Away?

Reviewed on 9/23/2021

There is no cure for genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), but they will eventually go away on their own. The length of time it takes for them to go away vary, but it may take a few months. In some cases, they go away and then return at a later time. The body tends to clear genital warts within two years.
There is no cure for genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), but they will eventually go away on their own. The length of time it takes for them to go away vary, but it may take a few months. In some cases, they go away and then return at a later time. The body tends to clear genital warts within two years.

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the U.S. Not all types of HPV cause genital warts

HPV is not the same as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or herpes simplex virus (HSV).

There is no cure for HPV though in most cases, genital warts will eventually go away on their own. How long genital warts last varies from person to person. In some cases, warts go away after a few months. Other times, the warts may disappear but HPV still remains in the body and warts may return. In general, however, warts and HPV are cleared from the body within two years. 

What Are Symptoms of Genital Warts?

HPV (human papillomavirus), the virus that causes genital warts, often doesn’t cause any symptoms and the virus goes away on its own. 

What Do HPV Genital Warts Look Like?

When genital warts occur, symptoms include: 

  • Small bump or group of bumps in the genital area
  • May be large or small, flat or raised, or shaped like a cauliflower
  • Can be skin-colored or pink
  • Burning, itching, or tenderness in the genital area may occur (less common)

How Are Genital Warts Diagnosed?

  • Genital warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) can be diagnosed with a physical examination, but there is no specific test. 
  • If genital warts are suspected but the diagnosis is uncertain, a biopsy of the lesion may be taken to confirm diagnosis. 
  • There are HPV tests called Pap tests used for cervical cancer screening in women aged 30 years and older but these tests are not used to screen men, adolescents, or women under the age of 30 years.

What Is the Treatment for Genital Warts?

Treatments for genital warts include: 

  • Creams or liquids applied to the wart
    • Bichloracetic acid and trichloroacetic acid 
    • Imiquimod (Aldara
    • Interferon 
    • Podofilox (Condylox
    • Podophyllin 
    • Sinecatechins (e.g., Veregen
  • Surgical treatment
    • Cryotherapy to freeze the wart
    • Electrocautery which uses electrical energy to burn away warts
    • Lasers to destroy warts
    • Removal of the wart (excision) 

How Do You Prevent Genital Warts?

To reduce the risk of getting human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts: 

  • Get the HPV vaccine 
  • Get screened for cervical cancer
    • Women aged 21 to 65 years old should be screened routinely to help prevent cervical cancer
  • If you are sexually active: 
    • Use latex condoms every time you have sex
    • Be in a mutually monogamous relationship 

SLIDESHOW

12 Preventable STDs: Pictures, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 9/23/2021
References
https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/genital-warts-in-women-beyond-the-basics?search=genital%20warts&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~124&usage_type=default&display_rank=2

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/genital-warts.html