Genital warts are small, fleshy outgrowths that manifest on or around the genital area in both men and women. They are caused by the action of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and typically do not pose a threat to one’s health. In a lot of cases, they appear without any accompanying symptoms, though they may be painful, itchy and discomforting. HPV and genital warts are sexually transmitted infections, so those with genital warts should be careful with sexual activity to prevent transferring infection to their partner. In some cases, genital warts disappear by themselves due to the body’s natural virus-fighting mechanism. If they don’t, an individual can consider the following methods of treatment.
Usually used for treating clusters of small warts, podophyllotoxin has a toxic effect on the cells forming warts. It is applied in specific dosages directly onto the wart-clusters using special application sticks. The liquid form is generally dripped onto the target area, though creamy formulations are available for places where a liquid is impractical.
Imiquimod is available as a cream compound. It targets larger warts and acts on them by stimulating the immune system. When the cream is applied to warts, the body’s immunity is locally activated, and some irritation may occur. Apply the cream, and wait for six to ten hours – depending on your physician’s directions – to wash off. Ideally, the cream should be applied not more than three times per week. Results may not be immediate, so monitor the area closely and follow your doctor’s directions completely.
Usage of Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) is more complicated than other forms of topical treatment. It is mostly used to banish small, hard warts, by destroying the protein cells in them.DO not apply TCA yourself at home. Faulty application of the cream can damage the healthy skin surrounding warts. After applying TCA, expect to feel a burning sensation for several minutes. TCA is a treatment that is best in a clinical setting. This treatment popular because it’s the only safe topical treatment for pregnant women.
A non-chemical form of treatment is freezing warts using nitrogen. Cryotherapy is for multiple small warts occurring in specific areas such as the shaft of the penis in men, or near the vulva in women. Cryotherapy tends to incite a burning sensation in most instances, and the treated skin remains vulnerable for a while. Blisters and pain may occur at the site of removed warts though the affected individual may be healed completely in about two weeks.
Excision is a procedure where warts are cut off with a surgical scalpel under local anesthesia. This method of treatment is typically used on small, hard warts that present together in a cauliflower appearance. After the cutting off of the wart-cluster, the incision is sewn up, and the affected area may remain painful and tender for a few weeks. Avoid sexual activity until the incision is healed and the soreness has eased completely.
Electrosurgery is mostly used to treat larger warts that have not responded to other topical treatments. It is usually warts on the vulva or anus region that fail to respond to topical treatments, thus requiring electrosurgery. The procedure begins by removing as much of warts as possible. The remaining part of the wart is them burnt off using an electric current, which destroys the remaining formation. This procedure can be very painful, especially when numerous warts are present.
Like electrosurgery, laser surgery is a specialized procedure used to banish warts from places that are hard to access. When warts occur deep in one’s anus or urethra, laser surgery is often the recommended option. Like other treatments that are based on cauterizing existing warts, this technique has side effects of pain in the affected area and soreness. Do not resume sexual activity until you’ve been approved for it by your treating physician.
Tea Tree Oil
A popular home remedy recommended for wart removal is the topical application of tea tree oil. Much like its action upon acne and scars, tea tree oil restores infected skin over a period. It is important to remember, however, that with tea tree oil, results take some time to show. While tea tree oil is a popular alternative therapy, if your warts are not shrinking or healing, consult your physician for a more intensive treatment.
Many people affected with genital warts found that regular cleaning of the genital area with over-the-counter genital washes helped their body naturally heal and remove warts. For those who neither have excessively large warts nor very prominent ones, using just a genital wash alone may heal them. This process may be slower than surgical removal or chemical creams, however.
Self-care, proper cleansing of the genitals, and periodic self-checks if you are sexually active can also help control outbreaks of genital warts. Early detection can also make wart treatments less invasive and painful and can keep them from spreading. If you have genital warts, avoid touching or scratching the area. Avoid sexual activity when you have warts, as your partner can contract them. Warts can also become irritated by sexual activity or vigorous exercise.