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What is the treatment for genital warts?

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Quick Answer

In genital warts cases in which the human papillomavirus causes abnormal cell changes, the cells may be frozen with liquid nitrogen, a cone biopsy may be performed to remove the cells, or the cells may be removed with an electrical current, reports WebMD. Often no treatment is required and cells heal on their own.

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Full Answer

While some genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, are low risk and eventually clear themselves from the body, other high-risk strains of HPV can be precursors to cancer, explains WebMD. When women are infected with a strain of HPV that causes precancerous cells to reproduce in the genital area that may lead to cervical cancer, the doctor’s first goal is to remove all of the abnormal cells that contain HPV. To treat this condition, known as cervical dysplasia or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, cryotherapy, conization, or a loop electrosurgical excision procedure, or LEEP, is used.

The doctor may perform a colposcopy, using a magnifying instrument to examine the vagina, vulva and cervix, states WebMD. Frequently a watch and wait mode of observation will be utilized in which the woman has frequent pap tests to track the growth of abnormal cells. HPV infections in the cervix typically heal themselves within two years of detection, thus treatment is often not required.

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