HPV, genital warts treatment

Doctor's Responses Archive

Viewer Question:

I am requesting some medical information on how to live with and maintain HPV.  I was infected 4 years ago, was treated afterwards, and now have another outbreak.  How do you deal with the pain and discomfort experienced the hours/days before you can get a doctors appointment?

Doctor's Answer:

Many women are living with the discomfort of genital HPV infection ( also known as genital warts).  At present, although research on vaccines and other approaches continues at a rapid pace, there is still no cure for HPV.  The available HPV medications do not prevent future attacks of HPV.  In addition, choice of which treatment the doctor picks depends on several factors about the lesions:  the location, the size, the shape (flat or raised), etc.  Therefore, a visit to the doctor is not only necessary to confirm the diagnosis of HPV, but it is necessary to choose which of the many treatment types (for example podofilox, trichloroacetic acid, podophyllin, cryotherapy, electrodesiccation, or electrocautery) is best for the size, location, and shape of the warts.  As you correctly state, each woman must ask her doctor about a satisfactory emergency plan for when symptoms of genital warts suddenly crop up, so that the duration and severity of discomfort can be minimized.  For some women, the plan may even include starting your own therapy at home at the first sign of an outbreak.

Thank you for your question.

Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

William Shiel, MD, FACP, FACR
Last Editorial Review: 10/29/2010