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How to Treat Warts

Genital warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, otherwise known as HPV. These warts appear around the genital area of both men and women. There are over 100 types of HPV, and 30 of these affect the genitalia. Some patients may be infected with HPV, yet not develop genital warts. Those who end up getting the warts will develop them anywhere from 1 to 3 months after they first became infected.

Genital warts appear as small whitish lumps that appear all over the genital area. In some people, the lumps may be larger, and shaped like a cauliflower. Men and women can both develop genital warts. In women, they can be around the vagina as well as inside, and can also develop on the cervix. Cervix genital warts can cause a light bleeding effect. On men, genital warts can grow on the penis, scrotum, anus and thighs.

Genital warts can grow by themselves or in clusters. They are generally pain-free, although they can itch and cause some discomfort. Genital warts are a highly transmitted sexual disease. An infected person can not only pass the virus on through sexual activity, but through close skin-to-skin contact. A woman who has HPV also stands the risk of passing it onto a baby during the act of delivery.

An infection of these warts can only be controlled, and cannot be eradicated completely. Some outbreaks will start to lessen over time, and the body may naturally rid itself of the virus on its own. This is not a guarantee, however, and many patients must deal with genital warts for years. There is no antibiotic that gets rid of warts, as they are caused not by bacteria, but by a virus.

The first medicine used to treat genital warts was called Acyclovir. Acyclovir is a topical ointment that can be prescribed by a doctor to treat a variety of infections, including HPV. It is also used for chickenpox, shingles, and herpes infections in the skin and on the lips. Acyclovir does not cure herpes in patients; its purpose is to provide relief and reduce the severity and longevity of the symptoms. It can speed up the healing time of the warts faster than other solutions, as well.

The treatment for genital warts has evolved over the years. Topical ointments were the first types of treatment, such as the above mentioned Acyclovir. Other lotions and gels where prescribed initially for the treatment of warts, such as podofilox lotion and podophyllin resin. Today, advances in medicine have made it possible to use laser treatments and electracautery to remove warts that will not go away. Both methods are more expensive, and are typically used only as a last resort.

A vaccine was developed in 2006 for women to protect them from HPV. This vaccine, called Gardasil , protects against the subtypes 6 and 11 of HPV, the type that causes over 90% of genital warts. It also protects against the subtypes 16 and 18, the strain of virus that causes over 70% of all cases of cervical cancer in women. It is now recommended for women and teens, especially those who have a history of cervical cancer in their family.

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