Genital Warts

Genital warts are symptomatic of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and can occur in both men and women of any age. Genital warts are soft growths of skin that are either flesh colored or grey in color and are found in the area of the genitals and anus. Also known as venereal warts, genital warts are very contagious and all it takes is one sexual contact with an infected person to contract the infection. The highest percentage of cases of genital warts occurs in men and women between the ages of 17 and 33. If a person suffers from genital warts, it is likely that he or she also suffers from other sexually transmitted diseases as well. While genital warts are less commonly found in children, the presence of this infection in younger children should alert caregivers to the possibility of sexual abuse.

Genital Warts Picture

Symptoms of Genital Warts

Very often, genital warts are difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms are not obvious. In most cases genital warts are painless and small enough to remain undetected. When this happens, the person often remains unaware that he has contracted a sexually transmitted infection for a long period of time. Genital warts may also not appear until months after sexual contact with an infected person making it all the more difficult to pinpoint the cause of the infection.

Some common symptoms of genital warts include:

  • Painless wart-like growths on the skin and mucus membranes in the genital area.
  • Sizes of genital warts can range from less than a millimeter in diameter to several square centimeters, or a collection of warts in a particular area.
  • These warts can cause itching and a discharge in some cases
  • Genital warts rarely cause bleeding or urinary obstruction. This happens only in cases where the warts have grown around the urethral opening and may cause difficulties in urination.
  • Genital warts can be concentrated in one area or spread over a large region. In men genital warts are found on the penis, the scrotum, around the anus and the urethra. In women, these warts occur around the areas of the labia and vagina. These warts can be soft and smooth or rough and raised. In most cases, the warts are hidden by hair or occur in the internal genital areas such as the foreskin or the cervix. In such cases, a thorough internal check up by a doctor is required to assess the spread of the infection.
  • Genital warts may cause bleeding in women after intercourse depending on their location.
  • Genital warts may indicate a previous history of sexually transmitted disease.
  • Genital warts can even spread to the mouth, lips, throat, and tongue.
  • Other rare symptoms of genital warts include vaginal discharge, excessive moisture of the genital areas, itching of the penis and scrotum, and vaginal bleeding.

If you suspect that you may have contracted genital warts, it is important to visit your doctor at the earliest and do a series of medical tests to diagnose and treat the condition. For women, a doctor may conduct a pelvic exam to check the walls of the vagina and the cervix for warts. Since some lesions may be too small to be visible by the naked eye, the doctor may need to magnify the area to determine the spread of the infection. To test the internal walls of the vagina and cervix a solution of acetic acid may be used to make the warts more visible.

If you have a history of STDs or are sexually active, a Pap smear is necessary to note any changes in internal activity of the reproductive organs. All women should start having a Pap smear test at least once a year as soon as they turn 21.

Causes of Genital Warts

The human papillomavirus or HPV is the main cause of genital warts. There are over a hundred different types of HPVs from which around 40 different strains have the ability to cause a genital wart infection. Some of the HPVs have the potential to develop into cancer, while ninety percent are relatively harmless. The HPV-16, HPV-18, HPV-31, and HPV-45 are high-risk types and are responsible for cases of cervical cancer.

If you have sex with an infected person, there are higher chances of developing genital warts within 3 months of the initial sexual contact. The HPVs that cause genital warts are highly contagious and can spread even from a single sexual contact.

The use of birth control pills has also been associated with the spread of the disease as in most cases; partners do not use any barrier method of contraception along with the contraceptive pills thus increasing the chances of spreading any infection.

Remedies for Genital Warts

The first step towards treating genital warts is confirming their presence and if they have been caused by a sexually transmitted infection. If you have been infected, utmost care needs to be taken not to spread the disease to other partners. This means restricting sexual intercourse with multiple partners and using a barrier method of contraception such as a condom at all times. It is also imperative to keep the genital area clean and dry. Wash underwear with a non-allergic, mild detergent and wear cotton underwear as this encourages the circulation of air and prevents excessive sweating in the genital area. Take precautions not to touch the warts or pick and squeeze them as this can spread the infection as well. Cutting warts by yourself can cause more damage, so do not resort to such remedies either.

For most people, genital warts is an embarrassing condition and people may prefer to self-medicate and resort to home remedies for genital warts instead of going to a doctor or asking a pharmacist for the required medication. Keep in mind that there is no permanent cure for genital herpes and genital warts that result from the infection, whether relying on medical or alternative treatments. Medical attention is however advised, as your doctor will be able to better monitor the condition and inform you about the risks involved. At the same time home treatments could also come in handy. Be cautious when attempting to use any home remedies however, and do not rely on them alone, as most home remedies are not backed by scientific studies and their effectiveness could vary greatly. Here are some tips for treating genital warts at home:

  • Moisten a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and apply to the infected areas. The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar help remove the dry and dead cells and remove the warts. For a more effective method, soak the cotton ball in vinegar and keep it in place with an adhesive tape. Remove the tape and the cotton ball after a few hours and repeat the process till the warts fall off.
  • Squeeze the stems of fresh figs and collect the juice. This milky solution can be used to relieve itching and dry up genital warts
  • Onion juice spread over the warts is another effective genital warts cure. You can make the onion juice but cutting up and onion and leaving it to soak overnight with a sprinkle of salt. Use the juice from this mixture then next morning on the warts. Onions work as an antimicrobial agent and reduce the spread of the infection. Salt is a humectant and an antispetic, which means that it wicks off the moisture in the affected area as well as controls the spreading of the infection. This home remedy for genital warts may be a little uncomfortable or even painful as it could cause a burning sensation. Keep in mind that this is happening due to the removal of the dead skin and cells on the warts and will ultimately result in the removal of the infection, so do not stop the treatment mid-way.
  • Chop fresh garlic and place it over the warts. Apply a bandage over the garlic to keep it in place. You can change this dressing and apply garlic often to dry up warts and remove them.
  • A popular home treatment for genital warts is applying vitamin E oil or castor oil on the warts to help dissolve them.
  • Other natural remedies for genital warts include oatmeal baths (soak one cup of oatmeal in your bath water and immerse the affected area for some time) and applying aloe vera juice on the warts.

If home remedies for HPV are not successful in treating the infection, your doctor may prescribe treatments such as electrocautery, cryotherapy, laser therapy, or surgical excision. Electorcautery involves the use of special tools to physically burn off the warts. Local anesthesia is used during this process to decrease the discomfort and pain. Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart till it falls off. Laser therapy is used when warts have spread over a large area or are big in size. The laser destroys the wart before removing it. During a surgical excision, your doctor will use special surgical instruments to cut off the warts.

Diet for Genital Warts

Genital warts have no dietary cause and a diet alone, will be of no help in the treatment of genital warts. Following a healthy diet in combination with your treatment plan, could however improve the efficacy of the treatment. A diet for genital warts should include foods that are rich in folic acid and beta-carotene such as leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbage, mangoes, tomatoes, papaya, pineapple and figs. Avoid over-processed meals and junk food and keep your diet balanced with fresh produce, dairy, nuts and seeds.

Suggestions for Genital Warts

Prophylactic HPV vaccines are under development and the results have been very encouraging this far, with a 90 to 100 percent success rate. Until the trials are completed however, the only way to prevent a genital wart infection is through abstinence or monogamous sexual relations with a single partner. If this is not possible, ensure that you use condoms even if there are no visible symptoms of any infection. Avoid smoking and make it a point to exercise regularly and eat a balanced healthy diet to boost your immune system.


  1. Charles JN Lacey, Genital warts and genital papillomavirus disease, Medicine, Volume 33, Issue 10, 1 October 2005, Pages 51-54, ISSN 1357-3039, 10.1383/medc.2005.33.10.51.

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9 Genital Warts remedies suggested by our users
Genital warts
suggested by [unspecified] on Friday, June 13, 2008

The apple cider vinegar works in 3 days. I found shaving the hair around the wart makes the band aid stick better. Use the small clear spot bandages to hold on the small, b-b size cotton ball soaked in ACV. Replace it 2 times a day, before work and before bed. Sometimes they will fall off in 2 days.

Milkweed Milk
suggested by Greg on Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The sap from an injured milkweed plant is very effective at inducing your body to eliminate the genital wart virus (HPV). If you have access to a plant just clip off a leaf and collect the white milky sap into some sort of small container. If applied straight to the infected skin the milk will be too strong so dilute to about 10% by using a quality lotion, maybe one that contains aloe and vitamin E. Continue treatment twice a day for 2 weeks and your genital warts will disappear.

suggested by [unspecified] on Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Apple cider vinegar works for the ladies too. It did miracles for me! Just relapsed after 2 and a 1/2 years. I started smoking. But I'm stopping forever now. ACV is working again. On the way to go buy some garlic now.

Apple Cider Vinegar
suggested by [unspecified] on Thursday, April 24, 2008

This is through my own experience. For men only, sorry ladies. Apple Cider Vinegar will still work for you but the following description for application only work if you have a penis. And this is only for infection on the shaft and head, not the scrotum. I found that garlic is extremely painful and really just destroys the skin so you're not treating the wart per se, you're just destroying the skin that its occupying. After months and months of research and painful trial and error I discovered Apple Cider Vinegar. Applying it with a cotton swab won't be enough so I came up with a way to leave it on for hours at a time and still go about your day. You'll need to cut strips of paper towel thick enough for you to wrap your penis a couple times. Also a strip of plastic wrap about the same size. Soak the paper towel in the vinegar and squeeze off excess. Now wrap this around your shaft and head making sure to cover all infected areas. Now wrap that with the plastic wrap. This will prevent it from soaking into your underwear or pants. This should be kept on for at least 2-3 hours. When you remove the wrap you should see that all the warts have turned white. Wipe down your penis with a wet paper towel and dry it off. The skin will be slightly sensitive after a couple hours of wrap so don't mess with it. This should be done every day until all the warts scab up. Once they start scabbing up you should continue to do the wrap for just a few more days. Now stop wrapping apply vitamin E oil to the scabs everyday to help them heal and wait for the scabs to fall off. DON"T PEEL THE SCABS!! When your penis is scab free you should repeat the whole process over. One cycle will take you about three weeks. I know it's a long process but its worth it to be wart free. The reason I say to repeat this is because some of the warts are so small you won't even see them. A table spoon of Apple Cider Vinegar with a glass of hot water every morning won't hurt either. The vinegar is known for its virus fighting properties. Try not to masturbate because the skin will be sensitive from the vinegar. If you do, make sure you clean up immediately to make sure you don't spread more of the infection on yourself. Eat well, exercise, and you will be healthy before you know it. Good Luck!

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