Genital Warts

Dr. Ajay Mohan (AIIMS)MBBS

December 28, 2018

March 06, 2020

Genital Warts
Genital Warts

What are Genital Warts?

Genital warts are a very common sexually transmitted infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is characterized by pain, discomfort, and itching among other symptoms. There can be either one wart or clusters of them near the genital region in both men and women. Women are at higher risk of contracting the disease than men.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Genital warts grow in different forms. The most common signs of genital warts are:

  • Small, scattered bumps (skin-coloured or darker).
  • A cluster of bumps in the genital area.
  • Itching or discomfort in the groin area.
  • Bleeding during intercourse followed by pain.

Genital warts appear on following areas:

In women:

  • Inside the vagina.
  • On the vulva, cervix, or groin.

In men:

  • On the penis.
  • On the scrotum, thigh, or groin.

In both genders

  • In or around the anus.
  • On the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat.

What are the main causes?

The main cause of genital warts is an infection with HPV. Genital warts spread from HPV infected person to a healthy person through:

  • Sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, anal)- The risk of getting infected with HPV increases with becoming sexually active at a very young age or having unprotected intercourse with multiple partners or with someone whose sexual history is not known.
  • Childbirth (from an infected mother to the infant).

How is it diagnosed and treated?

A dermatologist diagnoses the wart partly by physical examination which is confirmed by sending a wart or part of it to a laboratory for examination under a microscope.

Below are the medicines which may be prescribed by a dermatologist:

  • Podophyllotoxin (to stop the growth of wart cells).
  • Imiquimod (to boost the body’s immune system to fight HPV).

Sometimes procedures are performed which include:

  • Cryosurgery (liquid nitrogen) freezes warts.
  • Excision or surgical removal.
  • Electrocautery (electric current) destroys warts.
  • Laser treatment (Laser light) destroys warts.

The most important reason to treat genital warts is that HPV infection is the leading cause of cervical and vaginal cancer. Vaccination against the HPV can help diminish the risk of warts as well as the cancers.


  1. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Genital warts.
  2. Office on women's health [internet]: US Department of Health and Human Services; Genital warts.
  3. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosemont (IL), US; Genital Warts: Overview.
  4. Valerie R. Yanofsky et al. Genital Warts A Comprehensive Review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 Jun; 5(6): 25–36. PMID: 22768354
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Genital warts.

Medicines for Genital Warts

Medicines listed below are available for Genital Warts. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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