GENITAL WART REMOVAL Diagnosis
Genital warts are often diagnosed by appearance. Sometimes a biopsy might be necessary.
For women, it’s important to have regular pelvic exams and Pap tests, which can help detect vaginal and cervical changes caused by genital warts or the early signs of cervical cancer.
During a Pap test, your doctor uses a device called a speculum to hold open your vagina and see the passage between your vagina and your uterus (cervix). He or she will then use a long-handled tool to collect a small sample of cells from the cervix. The cells are examined with a microscope for abnormalities.
Only a few types of genital HPV have been linked to cervical cancer. A sample of cervical cells, taken during a Pap test, can be tested for these cancer-causing HPV strains.
This test is generally reserved for women ages 30 and older. It isn’t as useful for younger women because for them, HPV usually goes away without treatment.
If your warts aren’t causing discomfort, you might not need treatment. But if you have itching, burning and pain, or if you’re concerned about spreading the infection, your doctor can help you clear an outbreak with medications or surgery.
However, warts often return after treatment. There is no treatment for the virus itself.
Genital wart treatments that can be applied directly to your skin include:
Imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara): This cream appears to boost your immune system’s ability to fight genital warts. Avoid sexual contact while the cream is on your skin. It might weaken condoms and diaphragms and irritate your partner’s skin.
One possible side effect is skin redness. Other side effects might include blisters, body aches or pain, a cough, rashes, and fatigue.
Podophyllin and podofilox (Condylox). Podophyllin is a plant-based resin that destroys genital wart tissue. Your doctor applies this solution. Podofilox contains the same active compound, but you can apply it at home.
Never apply podofilox internally. Additionally, this medication isn’t recommended for use during pregnancy. Side effects can include mild skin irritation, sores or pain.
Trichloroacetic acid. This chemical treatment burns off genital warts, and can be used for internal warts. Side effects can include mild skin irritation, sores or pain.
Sinecatechins (Veregen). This cream is used for treatment of external genital warts and warts in or around the anal canal. Side effects, such as reddening of the skin, itching or burning, and pain, are often mild.
Don’t try to treat genital warts with over-the-counter wart removers. These medications aren’t intended for use in the genital area.
You might need surgery to remove larger warts, warts that don’t respond to medications or, if you’re pregnant, warts that your baby can be exposed to during delivery.