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Treating Genital Warts

Genital warts, also known as anogenital warts, may go away on their own, stay unchanged, or grow in size and number. Depending on where the warts are, some treatments to remove them may work better than others. The virus that causes the wart often stays in the body after treatment, so there is a chance of the warts returning.

Vaccine information

A vaccine can prevent HPV (human papillomavirus). This is the virus that causes genital warts and HPV-linked cancers. It is given to both men and women. VHA recommends the HPV vaccine up to age 26 to people who have not been previously vaccinated, have not completed the full 3 dose HPV vaccine series, or both. The vaccine may also be discussed and offered between ages 27-45.


Cross section of wart showing cotton swab applying cream to top of wart.
Medicines can be applied to break warts apart.

Prescription creams and gels can be applied to warts and nearby skin. Some prompt your immune system to fight against HPV, the virus that causes genital warts. Others are strong substances that destroy warts. Medicines can be applied at the healthcare provider's office or at home. Often more than 1 dose is needed. These treatments may cause skin rashes or irritation. Talk with your healthcare provider about possible side effects.

Wart removal

Cross section of wart with loop removing wart.
Warts may be removed using a heated wire loop as shown above.

Warts can be removed in many ways. These include freezing, heat (cautery), lasers, and surgery. These procedures may be done by your regular healthcare provider or a specialist. Before treatment, you may be given local anesthesia to numb the area. The number of treatments depends on how many warts are being removed. Your healthcare provider can give you more details.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 12/1/2019
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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