Genital Warts

Genital Warts

Genital warts are small lumps which develop in or around the genital areas or the back passage. They are caused by a virus which is passed on by sexual contact. More than 50% of people would have the chances of contracting genital warts through sex.

  • Most common viral sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Simple effective treatment available

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3 Treatment(s) available

Aldara 5% (imiquimod)

  • Very effective for genital warts
  • Use the medicine on the skin only
  • Do not use the cream for more than 16 weeks

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Condyline (podophyllotoxin)

  • Very effective for genital warts
  • Apply twice daily for 3 days
  • The solution can be applied to warts directly
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Warticon Cream 0.15%

  • Very effective for genital warts
  • Mild side effects
  • Used for external warts

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Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI). They are also known as anogenital warts. They are small lumps which appear in or around the genital areas, potentially around the anus. Many people who contract this condition will not have any visible warts. This can make it rather difficult trying to determine if you are a carrier with the potential to pass on the virus to others. Warts can appear internally or externally if they do show. Symptoms may only begin to become noticeable weeks or even months after initial contact with the virus.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the virus involved in causing genital warts. The virus is passed on through sexual activities. In other words, a close skin contact with the infected person can also transfer the virus. After getting the infections, warts take about a few weeks or months to develop. Hence, you carry the virus without realizing it for a long time.

Genital warts develop on the outer skin of the penis, on the skin around the anus (back passage), inside the anus, or inside the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. Most of the times, genital warts do not cause any physical discomfort. However, some of the common symptoms associated with them are:

  • Lumps on the skin
  • Irritation and soreness
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Anus bleeding (if the warts are inside)
  • Blood in the urine (if warts are inside the tube)


Majority of genital warts will be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is regarded as STI as it can be easily transferred through close skin contact. Which means, you can still contract or spread this infection even if you were to refrain from penetrative sex.

Other means to spread genital warts include:

  • Sharing sex toys
  • Infected to-be-mother to her baby
  • Through hand warts (extremly rare case)

It can take a long time for a wart to develop. However, you should be careful and go for regular medical checkups.

Types Of Treatment

It is possible for external genital warts to slowly fade and decrease in size without the help of treatment. However, the virus responsible for the infection cannot be removed once it has entered a person’s bloodstream. If this is the case with you, expect to experience multiple outbreaks during your lifetime. Taking all this into account, it is imperative that you keep your symptoms effectively managed to avoid further spread of the virus.

Chemical Treatments/Medications

Never buy over-the-counter genital wart medication to treat your condition. They will not be designed for use in the genital area and could cause a burning reaction. You may turn to other treatments to help minimise the appearance of warts and/or relieve any negative side effects. We stock the following medications for use against genital warts:


It is a chemical available in the form of a cream or lotion. It is typically used to treat clusters of small warts and has a toxic effect on them. It is applied twice every day for 3 days. No application on the 4th day. The process is repeated 4 to 5 times depending on the type of podophyllotoxin prescribed to you. However, you should keep in mind some points before using this chemical. Condyline is a lotion and Warticon is a cream. Both contain podophyllotoxin.

Do not use podophyllotoxin:

  • if you are pregnant
  • over broken skin or open wounds
  • on normal skin area around the warts
  • before sexual contact
  • in large quantity

Make sure you follow the instructions and read the patient leaflet carefully before using podophyllotoxin.


It is a chemical available in the cream form. It can be used to treat larger sized warts and works by encouraging the immune response towards the virus. The cream is applied at bedtime and washed off after 6-10 hours. This process is repeated 3 times a week for up to 16 weeks. It may take some weeks for the results to be visible. However, you should keep in mind some points before using this chemical. Aldara is a cream which contains podophyllotoxin.

  • Imiquimod may weaken condoms and diaphragms. Hence, when you use the cream, try other means of contraceptives
  • Do not use Imiquimod if you are pregnant
  • Do not attempt sexual contact immediately after using the cream
  • Do not apply the cream if the skin is broken or have open wounds
  • Do not apply the cream on normal skin area around the warts

Make sure you follow the instructions and read the patient leaflet carefully before using Imiquimod.

Physical Treatments

Other popular treatments are:

Excision (cutting off warts)

This is a surgical removal process which is carried out under local anaesthetic. This process can be used if you have only a few warts which can be easily removed. Excision is one of the most successful treatments.

Laser treatments

This technique is sometimes used to destroy warts by burning. Laser is one of the most successful treatments.


This technique is used to destroy warts by burning them using electric currents. Electrocautery is one of the most successful treatments.


This is a very common treatment where liquid nitrogen is applied to warts. This freezes the warts and destroys the tissues. After about a week, you may need other treatments to remove dead warts. This process is used for small-to-moderate number of warts. Cryosurgery or freezing of warts is one of the most successful treatments.

NO Treatment

Not treating the warts can also be considered as an option. Genital warts are not serious. And about one-third of the visible genital warts are expected to disappear by themselves over six months. Hence, you can think of just leaving them alone.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at!

Questions & Answers

Who gets HPV and what are the risks?

Genital warts are currently the most common viral STI diagnosed in the UK. The most affected age group in men is between 20-24 years of age.

How do you diagnose genital warts?

The first option you have is to check yourself and your partner(s) for warts. This can prove ineffective for a lot of people as warts can be small and difficult to see; sometimes virtually non-existent to the naked eye. It can also be difficult to differentiate a wart amidst pimples and other bumps already on the skin. If you believe you have been exposed to HPV, visit your doctor as soon as you possibly. A healthcare professional will be able to examine and access you in much greater depth.

How can I avoid contracting HPV or genital warts?

Preventive vaccines which provide effective protection from the most common HPV types (including genital warts) are now readily available. It would be ideal to take this vaccine prior to engaging in sexual activity. It is currently free to females aged between 12-20 years.

You could significantly reduce your chances of contracting HPV by not having sex with either anyone at all or anyone else but a partner who has only had sex with yourself. The more times you risk having unprotected sex, the higher your chances of becoming infected will be.

Condoms offer partial protection but are not full proof, they are still a good form of protection which should be used.

Can HPV be cured?

The treatment for HPV can be a very long process and rather frustrating. The average person will require several treatments to clear their bout of genital warts. None of the treatments currently available act as a permanent cure, the virus can lay dormant in cells subsequent to treatment. In certain cases, warts can return months or years after treatment. In other cases, warts will never return.

If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at

Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at!

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