What Are the Types of Treatment for Genital Warts?


Quick Answer

Doctors treat external genital warts with medications, freezing and surgical removal, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients who prefer to treat themselves at home apply ointments or gels, while health professionals treat patients with cryotherapy, acid or resin application, or one of four types of surgical excision.

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Full Answer

Health care providers prescribe Podofilox gel, imiquimod cream or Sinecatechins ointment to patients who treat genital warts at home, according to the CDC. Doctors apply Podophyllin resin in a compound tincture, or they use a solution of trichloroacetic or bichloroacetic acid to patients who choose office treatment. Health care providers may freeze warts using liquid nitrogen or a cryoprobe, which requires repeated applications every one to two weeks. A doctor may use electrosurgery or a cutting tool to remove genital warts.

Choosing a treatment method for genital warts depends on available resources, the experience of the healthcare provider and the patient's preferences, notes the CDC. Other factors include the location of the warts, their size and number, the cost and potentially adverse effects. Some patients choose to leave genital warts untreated because the warts may disappear over time. Most warts respond to treatment within three months. Side effects are rare but may include scarring, discoloration and chronic pain.

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