Treating Genital Warts
There are several ways of treating genital warts, from topical creams and home remedies for genital warts to surgical wart removal. Some treatments are though more effective than others in order to get rid of genital warts.
In this article, I look at the most common genital warts treatments, their pros and cons and the scientific support (if any) for their efficiency in removing genital warts for good.
How To Cure Genital Warts?
There is no cure for genital warts but you can get rid of them with genital wart treatment. There are two main ways of treating genital warts, i.e. topically (cream, lotions) or with physical ablation (external forces like laser or electricity).
Some topical treatments give good results when used on softer warts, while physical ablation may be needed to remove the harder / rougher warts.
You have to be dedicated to your genital warts treatment. It takes time to get rid of genital warts, usually several months.
Topical Genital Warts Treatments
Topical treatment includes applying genital wart removal cream or lotion directly to the warts, i.e. applied topically. Topical treatments include prescribed genital wart medication, creams you can buy over the counter (OTC) and home remedies for genital warts.
Prescribed Topical Medication
The most commonly prescribed genital warts medications are Podophyllotoxin, Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), Imiquimod and Zyclara.
All have some potential side effects, mainly skin reactions in the application area, e.g. redness and swelling. None cures the genital warts for good, recurrence can happen.
There are number of scientific studies that support that the above medications remove genital warts (I have linked to some studies for each product below).
Podophyllotoxin comes in liquid form and is usually prescribed to treat clusters of small warts while Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used if the warts are very hard. Imiquimod cream on the other hand is usually used to treat larger warts.
TCA is considered safest of those three treatments but it can damage healthy skin if applied wrongly so you cannot apply it yourself.
Zyclara was specially developed to meet the need for shorter treatment regimen but it shares the same active ingredients as Imiquimod. Zyclara was approved by FDA in 2011 and has been shown to safely and effectively clearing genital warts when used once a day, for up to eight weeks.
OTC Topical Creams
There are lot of OTC creams and liquids available to treat non-genital warts. They are however not suitable for treating genital warts.
Wartrol for example is clinically proven home treatment for removing common warts but is not suitable for treating genital warts, as they clearly state in their List Of Ingredients . Wartrol is however very effective for treating common warts.
Home Remedies For Genital Warts
All kinds of home remedies have been tried to cure genital warts, e.g. tea tree oil, vitamins, garlic, red marine algae, spirulina... even burning the warts with matches.
There is nothing that satisfyingly supports that home remedies for genital warts work and you might end up worse than before, e.g. due to skin irritation or even allergic reaction.
Physical Ablation Genital Warts Treatment
Treating genital warts with physical ablation includes the use of external forces like laser or electricity. The most commonly used physical ablation methods are:
Treating genital warts with Cryotherapy includes the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze multiple small warts, killing the warts cells.
Cryotherapy can be performed at the doctor's office or clinic. You are likely to experience mild burning sensation during the procedure and afterwards you may develop skin irritation, blisters and pain at the treated site.
It usually takes between 1-3 weeks for the skin to heal and you should avoid sexual intercourse during this time.
Excision means removing the warts by cutting them away with surgical scalpel under local anesthetic. The incision is then sealed with stitches.
Excision can cause scaring and is therefore not recommended when removing large warts. Excision is mainly used to treat small hardened warts, usually combined in some form of a cauliflower shape.
Recovery time tends to be between 1-3 weeks and sexual intercourse should be avoided during that time.
Removing genital warts with electrosurgery can be quite painful so it is usually used in combination with other treatment options, e.g. topical treatments or excision. The outer part of the wart is removed first and then electric current is used to treat the remaining parts.
For men, electrosurgery is mainly used to treat large warts around the anus area. Electrosurgery is usually performed under regional or general anaesthetic.
Laser surgery is mainly used to treat large warts that are difficult to access and therefore cannot be treated with the other methods, e.g. deep inside the anus or urethra.
Laser is used to burn the warts away and is usually performed under either local or general anaesthetic.
Get Rid Of Genital Warts
As with most penis health problems the sooner you start your treatment the better. Therefore, if you suspect you have genital warts you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
Genital warts are highly contagious so if you are sexually active you should have them treated as soon as possible, i.e. to avoid infecting your sexual partner.
Topical genital warts treatment may be sufficient to get rid of the softer warts but physical ablation may be needed to remove the harder and rougher warts.
And remember, treating genital warts takes time so it is important that you are dedicated to your treatment.