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Genital warts may go away on their own, but sometimes they stick around, get larger or grow in number. Talk with a nurse or doctor about treatment options to have them removed.

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Should I get treatment for genital warts?

That’s totally up to you to decide with your nurse or doctor. Your body’s immune system may fight off the virus that causes genital warts, and they’ll go away without any further treatment. But they may not, and can be uncomfortable and be passed to other people. If you’re pregnant, your doctor or nurse may want to remove the warts so they don’t cause problems during a vaginal delivery. Getting treatment also lowers your chances of passing warts on to anyone you have sex with.

What’s the treatment for genital warts?

There are several different ways to treat genital warts, depending on where the warts are and how much of your skin they cover. Like all medicines and procedures, these treatments can have different side effects, costs, and benefits. Talk with your doctor or nurse to decide which genital warts treatment option is best for you.

Your doctor or nurse can:

  • Put chemicals on the warts to make them go away or stop growing. Usually you get this done once a week for a few weeks at a clinic.

  • Give you a prescription for a cream that you put on the warts yourself for several weeks.

  • Freeze the warts off (cryotherapy).

  • Burn off the warts using an electric current.

  • Remove the warts with a knife or wire and electricity (LEEP).

Some of these treatments might sound kind of scary, but they all work by removing the warts, which removes any symptoms and lowers your chances of passing the HPV infection that caused them to anyone else. Your doctor or nurse can give you a numbing medicine to make you more comfortable.

By the way, over-the-counter wart medicines to treat warts that are on your hands or feet should NOT be used to treat genital warts.

Although there’s no cure for the types of HPV that cause genital warts, there is a vaccine that can prevent most kinds of genital warts and certain types of cancer.

What can I do after treatment to make sure I don’t get anymore warts?

Nothing. Genital warts can be treated, but they can’t be cured. You’re removing the warts, but you’ll still have the virus that causes them. The virus may go away at some point on its own, but there’s no way to know for sure. Some people will get warts again and others won’t.

After you get your warts removed:

  • Keep the area clean and don’t scratch it.

  • Wash your hands after touching the area where the warts were.

  • Don’t have sex if it’s uncomfortable.

  • A cold pack may make you feel better if the area hurts or is swollen. You can take over-the-counter pain medicine to help.
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