Overview of the Human Papillomavirus Virus and Genital Warts

Genital warts is a health subject that those who are (or who are about to become) sexually active should be familiar with. Genital warts are caused by certain types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a virus that can be contracted by direct genital contact such as vaginal and/or anal sex. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that at least 50% of sexually active people will get genital HPV

The types of HPV that are associated with the visible skin changes known as genital warts fall into the low risk category. This means that genital warts do not put a person at increased risk for cancer. Genital warts are visible growths or bumps that can be raised or flat, small or large, and singular or multiple in number. External warts can be found on the penis, vulva, scrotum, and surrounding skin tissues. Internal warts can be found on the cervix, vagina, urethra, and anus. Often genital warts go unnoticed, but they can be painful, itchy, and bleed easily.

Genital warts can be prevented by abstinence (not having sex). A vaccine is available for women aged 9-26 that prevents certain types of HPV thus reducing the risk of having genital warts. The risk of contracting genital warts can further be reduced by using condoms, and keeping the number of sexual partners you have in your lifetime to a minimum (the partner you select should also have had minimal partners).

While Genital warts may go away on their own, a number of treatment options are available to remove them. When considering the option of having genital warts removed it is important to remember that removal of the wart or warts does not eliminate the HPV infection. Removal also does not prevent the transmission of HPV.

Two self applied treatments that are available are Podofilox and Imiquimod. These medications are well studied and considered easy to use. Podofilox is applied to the warts twice a day for three days followed by 4 days of no medication. This weekly cycle is repeated for up to a month. Imiquimod is applied to warts once a day, three times a week, for up to 16 weeks. Both of these medications can cause local skin irritation and redness with mild to moderate pain during their use. Prior to using these medications a healthcare provider will need to give instructions on their proper application. Alternative provider administered treatments to remove genital warts include cryotherapy, the application of topical medications, interferon therapy, and surgery.

There is a newer third option for self treatment called Wartrol. Wartrol is an alternative treatment  based on homeopathic philosophy. Some studies have shown a positive response from this treatment. More information can be found here.

Cryotherapy is completed with liquid nitrogen or a cryo-probe. Often repeat visits are needed every 1-2 weeks. With cryotherapy over or under treatment is possible. Temporary side effects of this type of therapy include pain, blistering, and an area of blackened dead skin. Cryo-probe use for vaginal warts is not recommended due to the potential for serious complications.

Topical medications a provider can apply to genital warts include Podophyllin resin, Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and Bichloroacetic acid (BCA). These three topical medications all require weekly applications by the clinician. TCA and BCA are both widely used, but have not been thoroughly studied.

Interferon therapy to remove genital warts has been attempted. Systemic interferon therapy is not recommended as its effectiveness is poor. However, interferon injections directly into the wart itself have proven to be effective. The use of interferon injections requires numerous office visits and is associated with several systemic side effects.

Surgery to remove genital warts can be completed in numerous ways (including via laser) by a skilled healthcare provider. Surgery can be an ideal option for patients with numerous or large warts. Surgery is also the only treatment option that can generally remove a wart with only one visit.

Whatever treatment option is selected follow-up consultation after three months to evaluate effectiveness and assess for reoccurrence is recommended. Genital warts and HPV may not be a subject you feel comfortable discussing, but it is a subject you should educate yourself on. An open discussion with your healthcare provider can help you decide if you want to attempt treatment and which treatment might be best for you.

The top 3 natural genital warts treatments ranked as per effectiveness: (Click each link to read full reviews and product details)

15 thoughts on “Overview of the Human Papillomavirus Virus and Genital Warts”

  1. samuel cortez

    Hello, i caught warts i beleive about maybe two years now.
    ive used the creams and antibiotics they only work temporaly.
    Ive studied interferon it seems to be my final choice.
    Yours truly,
    samuel cortez
    p.s. i want this virus out of my body!.

  2. I have been trying to get rid of my warts for about 9 years now. Some of them responded to treatment and some resisted every treatment. Its a horrible affliction which can affect anyone at all – and you dont need to have had that many partners. What puzzles me is that although 50% of the population are thought to be carrying the virus, only a relative few go on to develop visible warts. And in men, I am told, the manifestation of warts is quite rare. All I know is that I have been putting up with this things for so very long and I would give anything to be free of them; a sex life seemed out of the question since I learned what I had and even though the amount of warts is limited, I am too ashamed of them to become involved with any partner in a sexual way. I would like to know how much research is being done not just towards prevention, but for a cure for this debilitating problem. I would like to have a partner again before its too late. If anyone knows how to help, I would be eternally grateful.

  3. Genital warts is a very serious and wide spread social disease, since it is mostly spread by have sex with an infected partner.

    Plus you could be infected and not even know it. Thus spreading the disease…

    HPV is the most common STD in America and many other countries.

    For women it is even more severe as if a women becomes pregnant, she can give the baby genital warts, unless she has a “c” section..Now, that is pretty darn horrible to even think about.

    If you have genital warts, get help immediately! Letting them spread only makes the treatment longer and possible scarring worse as well.

    Just remember that there are all natural treatments that are not painful, that do not leave scarring and that are cost effective.

    ~The Genital Warts Pro~

  4. genital warts wortrol

    Can someone tell me if men can get and transmit HPV.. Someone is arguing that they can’t..

  5. Dear Genital warts wortrol,
    I am sorry to say that yes men can get and transmit the STI (sexually transmited infection) HPV.

  6. Hello evryone, I noticed I had genital warts about a year ago. At first it was one and then it multiplied
    And started to grow even bigger. I couldn’t take d embarassment anymore so I had to see a doctor. He perfomed electosugery on
    Me to clear about 5 diffrent warts. I’m free of it today glory be to God

  7. try using oxyfend zerowarts, its just a cream, you have apply it on the affected areas, until they’re gone, my sister had used it before, she had genital warts, and our doctor recommended to use the oxyfend cream, the results were good, my sister is ok now.

  8. patty houston

    Wow everybody’s raving about Oxyfend. I, on the otherhand, swear by Wartrol. But not saying one of which is better, I just happen to like it water and alcohol based. To each his own. 🙂 But I’ve heard of people using Oxyfend and swears by it too. Maybe they’re both the best when it comes to wart removal. 🙂

  9. HPV has no known direct cure. though experts say it would disappear from your system in about two years. however, other symptoms/complications of HPV, like genital warts, can be cured (somehow). there are tons of topical treatments out there but i’d recommend Wartrol. it’s the only herbal OTC treatment i know. and based from what i read all over the net it works. its official site also says it works in a matter of 72 hours.within 72 hours the warts will turn black and fall off. but Wartrol isn’t the only treatment that’s effective, i know Oxyfend also works. if medical treatments just ain’t your thing, you can always try apple cider vinegar.it’s gonna sting much, but it’s gonna work.

  10. After about 6 months of embarrassingly not going to the doctor and simply hoping these were not warts – i went to the doctor today – in about 30min he zapped them and sent my on my way. Im a man – in women the hpv has many more serious complications I have been informed.
    Now knowing I have this – how do I approach the subject with new partners or a serious girlfriend.

  11. Just tell your partner. big deal, she/he would rather know then to be left with a guilt or whatever feeling. If you are in aserious relationship, it would be understood your condition.

  12. I found your discussions on wart very useful.My worries have been calmed a bit. I saw some rashes on d base of my genitals n went to see d doc. he confirmd it was wart and prescribed podophyllin. is there anyone that knws hw effective this is?
    My other worry is how did i get it. its 3 yrs now since i ‘ve been married and i’ve never met any woman except my wife. I trust her but this wart things made me thinking otherwise. can wart be contacted thru use of toilets?

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