Warts are a highly infectious disease caused by some type of human papillomavirus (HPV). Its spread through skin to skin contacts with an infected partner. Warts are the most easily recognized symptom of genital HPV infection, where types 6 and 11 are responsible for 90% of genital warts cases. While those infected by genital HPV are a small percentage, those infected can still transmit the virus.
Warts appear as bumps or growths. They can be flat or raised, single or many, small or large. They tend to be whitish or flesh colored. They are not always easy to see with the naked eye, and many times a person with genital warts doesn’t know that they’re there.
How do you treat warts?
There is no HPV treatment or cure for the virus. There is also no cure for warts. However, warts can be treated, either at home or your doctor’s office. Your doctor will do an examination, make a diagnosis, and then provide treatment, if necessary. A number of different treatments might be used depending on where the warts are located, how big they are, and how many there are. The doctor might put special medications on the warts.
For medication purposes, you can ask your doctor to prescribe either podofilox (Condylox) or imiquimod (Aldara). Both of these topical medications you can apply yourself at home. These medications should not be used if you are pregnant; it is not recommended that you use either podophyllin or podofilox as both can be absorbed by your skin and possibly cause birth defects in your child. Additionally, Aldara is designed to be used only on external warts.
The doctor can also prescribe electrodessication: This technique uses an electric current to destroy the warts. It can be done in the office with local anesthesia. Of note, the resulting smoke plume may be infectious.
Laser treatment is also used for extensive or recurrent warts. It may require local, regional, or general anesthesia. The laser physically destroys the HPV-induced lesion. Disadvantages include high cost, increased healing time, scarring, and potentially infectious viral particles in the air caused by the laser plume.
Cryotherapy treatment technique freezes the wart using liquid nitrogen or a “cryoprobe.” It is an excellent first-line treatment because response rates are high with few side effects.
Finally take home care precautions to prevent trauma in the area which can result in bleeding. Be careful to prevent transmission to a sexual partner which can result to genital warts. Also avoid touching them because they are highly infectious.
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