A genital wart varies amongst patients. Genital warts may go away on their own or with treatment. They can last from a few months to years (with or without treatment), most of them take 2 years to clear up. Approximately, 30% of all warts will subside within the first 4 months of infection.
What is the treatment for genital warts?
Genital warts may go away without treatment. However, getting treatment can help because it
The choice of treatment depends on how many warts are there, where they are, your overall health status. The treatment can be medicinal creams or ointments, procedures, or injectables.
Medicinal creams/ointments (to be applied at home)
The following are available on a doctor’s prescription:
- Podofilox (halts the growth of warts and after some time the wart falls off)
- Imiquimod (increases the immunity to fight off the virus)
- Green tea extract (contains an antiviral agent, sinecatechins)
Procedures (to be done at a doctor’s office during the visit)
A dermatologist may perform one of these procedures that may require several sessions. These procedures include:
- Excision: Cutting out warts from their base.
- Electrocautery: Burning warts and destroying them by passing an electric current through them.
- Cryosurgery: Freezing warts with liquid Nitrogen till they are destroyed.
- Laser treatment: Destroying warts with laser light.
If all other treatments fail, injections of an antiviral medicine (Interferon) are given directly into warts.
HPV is a chronic illness, and getting genital warts is only one of their signs. You can get rid of warts, but once you get an HPV, it stays with you forever.
How often do genital warts recur?
Most genital warts will recur within 3 months of infection, even after getting the appropriate treatments. Once you are infected with the virus, whatever treatments you take, it never goes away from your body.
The intervals in which genital warts recur depends on
- Whether you have been vaccinated (with HPV vaccine).
- The strength of your immunity.
- The virus type (strain) you have.
- The amount of virus in your blood.
How can you prevent the spread of genital warts?
You can reduce your risk of getting HPV and genital warts by taking a few preventive steps. Here is what you can do:
- Get an HPV vaccine: This vaccine is for males and females between ages 9 to 26 years. This is given as three shots over 6 months, this vaccine can also help prevent certain types of cancer, including cervical cancer in women.
- Use a condom during sex: Wearing a latex condom may help reduce the risk of getting genital warts from infected partners. Since it does not cover the entire area, the uncovered areas can still infect you.
- Discuss each other’s (partner’s) health in sexual relationships: Ask your partner if they have any STDs, and you too need to discuss with them if you have any.
- Refrain from smoking: There is evidence that smokers have more chances of getting genital warts than non-smokers.
Yanofsky VR, et al. Genital warts: a comprehensive review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012;5(6):25-36.
Genital warts. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/genital-warts-a-to-z
Top How Long Do Genital Warts Last? Related Articles
Are Warts Caused by Being Dirty?Warts are a common skin problem that can happen in both kids and adults. Warts are not caused by being dirty, but by viruses in the HPV family.
Can Genital Warts Be Mistaken for Herpes?What is the Difference between genital warts and herpes, and, can genital warts be mistaken for herpes?
Genital Warts PicturesA wart in the moist skin of the genitals or around the anus. See a picture of Genital Warts (HPV) and learn more about the health topic.
Genital Warts (HPV) Infection in WomenGenital warts is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts look like raised, flesh-colored lumps. Learn about symptoms, transmission, and treatment.
How Does a Man Know if He Has HPV?What is HPV, and what does it look like in men? Learn how to recognize HPV, when to see your doctor for HPV, and how to prevent and treat HPV in men.
Is It Genital Warts or Skin Tags?How do I know if I have genital warts or skin tags? Learn about each condition and how to tell the difference. The 10 most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States include human papillomavirus (HPV), trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and more. STDs (STIs) are most likely to be spread by sexual contact including vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)Common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in women include gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and HPV infection (genital warts). Learn about types, symptoms, and treatment.
STD QuizThere are more sexually transmitted diseases than just the ones you've heard of. Find out what you've been missing with the STD Quiz.
STDs in MenSymptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in men include painful urination, bumps or sores on the penis, and penile discharge and itching. Learn about the most common STDs in men.
STDs Facts SlideshowSexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and genital herpes are common STDs. Think you might have an STD? You’re not alone. Find pictures of herpes, gonorrhea, and more. Learn how venereal disease can harm your health, and how to tell your partner if you have an STD.
What Is the Fastest Way To Get Rid of Genital Warts?Genital warts or HPV (human papillomavirus) are very common. There is no cure but there are fast treatments to help get rid of them. Learn what they are. If you need to get tested for STDs but would rather not go to the doctor, you can test yourself using an at-home STD test.
What Is the Best Over-the-Counter Wart Remover?Warts or verruca vulgaris are one of the most common dermatological complaints. The best over-the-counter wart removers contain salicylic acid or liquid butane.
What Should I Do After a Vulvar Biopsy?A vulvar biopsy is a surgical procedure where a small piece of tissue is extracted from the vulva. A vulvar biopsy is performed on discolored areas, lumps, sores and genital warts that don't heal. After a vulvar biopsy, follow instructions to keep the area clean and dry, do not wash the biopsy region for 12 hours and apply direct pressure on the site if it bleeds.