Treatment of Genital Warts

Genital warts needed to be treated even if they cause no symptoms. The home therapies like salicylic acid and duct tape generally do not work in the groin and anal area.

The usual medications to treat genital warts are:

Imiquimod (Aldara): This new cream when applied to the warts is effective to kill the wart. It is supposed to work by stimulating various toxic chemicals which kill the HPV. The cream is applied at bed times 3-4 times a week. In the morning the genital area has to be washed to avoid the skin irritation. The cream should be applied for about 16 weeks to see any results. It is expensive. One should refrain from both oral and sexual activities when this cream is applied. Having sex even wearing a condom is not encouraged. The cream can be irritating to the skin and mouth.

Podofilox (Condylox): Podofilox has been used for decades to treat genital and anal warts. It usually destroys the warts. Application of this gel/solution must done with care. The first application is usually done by the physician so that one can observe the technique. The medication is applied twice a day for 3 days and then 4 days without treatment. Inmost cases, the treatment is continued for up to 3-4 weeks. The solution is very irritating to normal skin. Podofilox should never be placed inside the vagina, anus or penis. One should apply some Vaseline on the surrounding normal skin and then apply the gel directly to the wart. Pregnant women should not use this chemical

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA). This peeling agent is sometimes used to treat wart. Only the very high concentrations (80-90%) are effective. The acid is applied once a week and has to be repeated. Most individuals do not like it because of the severe skin irritation that occurs afterwards.

Sometimes the warts can be treated with liquid nitrogen. The cold liquid is applied to the wart. Usually several treatments are required and is an effective therapy.

Electrocautery: there are various heat probes which can be used to treat warts it is important not to touch the normal skin with the heat probe. Most people need some type of local anesthesia to numb the pain of the heat.

Laser: for those who can afford it, laser is excellent for treating warts. The lasers are generally reserved when other methods fail

Bleomycin & .Fluorouracil: Both these drugs can sometimes be injected directly into the wart. They are both effective and used when the above techniques fail to treat the lesions.

Interferon alpha: this normal body substance us sometimes used to treat warts, it is injected into the lesion for 8-10 weeks. It is very expensive and not everyone responds to it.

When the above measures fail to treat the wart, surgery may be an option. However, surgery is always a last option. Surgery in the genital areas is normally not fun and quite unpleasant

Surgery: Sometimes the physician needs to excise the wart. This can easily be done with a scalpel. The skin is always frozen before the procedure.

Over the counter medications: There are many other products sold to treat genital warts; most of these products are useless and a waste of money. Many of the over the counter products are harmful to the skin

None of the treatments can cure genital warts. Even when the wart is removed, the virus can still spread and genital warts can recur. None of the available treatment options are ideal and all of them produce similar results.

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