The underlying infection that causes genital warts is HPV and there is no cure for the infection. However it is possible to remove the most commonly noted symptoms of HPV, by using effective genital warts treatment and management options.
Genital warts appear in the form of gray or flesh colored growths which occur in clusters or large masses in the genital area. They are more visible among women than men. Genital warts are highly contagious and there is a 60 to 70% chance of getting an infection from just a single unprotected sexual contact with an affected person.
The genital wart treatment depends upon the size, location and kind of warts that a person has.
The main reason to seek treatment for genital warts is the unsightly appearance of the warts.
Also the warts themselves are contagious and trauma to them could result in bleeding. The treatment options for genital warts are –
An effective and inexpensive topical application for genital warts is podophyllotoxin or podofilox which is used cyclically – twice a day for a few days and then not for up to a week and then used again.
Side effects include pain and skin irritation and erosion.
Imiquimod or Aldara is another topical application that is effective but which has the potential side effect of fungal infections and flu like symptoms.
Sinecatechins (brand names Polyphenon E and Veregen) are comprised of green tea and other extracts and they are able to clear warts with lower rates of irritation. However this can take longer to work.
Trichloroacetic acid or bichloracetic acid is another topical application which however has a greater chance of the warts reappearing. Side effects of pain and burning are also common and this application is not suitable for application to the vagina, cervix and so on.
5-Fluorouracil or Efudex is another genital warts treatment that causes burning and irritation and also takes long to work. There are also many known side effects and is no longer considered to be a safe and effective option for treatment of genital warts.
Interferon injections can also be used to effectively to treat genital warts. However the effect is seen to be inconsistent and is also an expensive option.
Liquid Nitrogen is used to safely kill warts, however rates of recurrence are high and the wart may appear just 6 months after treatment. It is deemed safe to use in pregnancy.
Electro cauterization as genital warts treatment
Electrocauterization is the method of destroying tissue using a probe that uses electrically generated heat. If the warts are extensive or severe anesthesia may be required for this treatment.
This option for genital wart treatment is most suitable for large warts. However the procedure does carry the risk of scarring. The warts are cut away using local anesthetic, and while this option is quite effective in getting rid of the warts, there is a high rate or recurrence.
Here lasers are used for genital warts treatment, which helps to remove the warts, but is known to be very expensive. It is not seen to be any more effective than other methods of wart removal, so as to justify the additional expense.