If you notice any swelling or small lesions around your genital or anal area, then they probably are warts. Warts are flesh-colored bumps on the skin. They are generally not painful but could be very itchy.
Genital warts are common skin infections caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This infection spreads commonly through sexual intercourse and improper genital hygiene. These warts are small growths that appear on the genital areas.
Symptoms of Genital Warts
One may not begin to develop genital warts for several weeks after the infection. Moreover, they are not constantly visible to the human eye. These warts are generally transmitted through sexual activities. The surface of genital warts resembles similarly to a cauliflower but it feels slightly smooth or bumpy. It is usually not just one wart but it forms a cluster of warts.
In men, genital warts appear on the following areas:
- Inside or around the anus
In women, genital warts can be seen:
- Inside or outside of the vagina or anus
- On the Cervix
At times, these warts also appear around the mouth, lips, throat, or tongue, if the person had oral sex with another person who has genital warts.
Below are the symptoms of genital warts:
- Burning sensation
- Vaginal discharge
- Itching sensation
Risks Factors and Complications of Genital Warts
A sexually active person is always at the risk of contracting HPV if unprotected sex is carried out. Apart from sexual activity, there are other criteria for people to get this disease:
- A person with a history of child abuse
- A pregnant woman with HPV (she can transfer the virus to her baby during childbirth)
- If you are a smoker
- A person who has an impaired immune system
HPV is the leading cause of cancer in the cervix, vulva, as well as penile and anal cancer.
Diagnosis of Genital Warts
The doctor will go in for a physical examination to check the areas where genital warts have grown. Since at times, these warts grow deep inside the body, especially among women, the doctor would recommend a pelvic examination. The doctor may also swab the affected area to obtain cells from the cervix. The sample would then be further examined to verify the presence of the virus.
In addition to the physical examination, the doctor will also ask you some questions about your health and sexual history. A few questions regarding any symptoms noticed during sexual intercourse including oral sex may also be asked by the doctor.
Treatment of Genital Warts
Once the virus is in your bloodstream, it cannot be eliminated. Hence, it is important to manage your symptoms to avoid the spread of the disease to other people. One cannot treat genital warts with over-the-counter medicines as well as wart removal or treatments.
You would need to consult your doctor for a proper and complete genital wart treatment. The doctor may prescribe trichloroacetic acid, imiquimod, or podophyllin.
Warts can also be removed through the following methods. These methods can only be performed by your doctor:
- Laser treatments
- Excision or cutting off the warts
- Burning warts using an electrical current
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Genital Warts
There are some inexpensive home remedies you can try to treat your genital warts. While there is little evidence to support this statement, you can definitely give them a try after consulting your doctor. The following are some remedies that are believed to completely remove genital warts:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been found to effectively treat genital warts. The acetic acid in it is corrosive in nature, which means that it can remove tissues when it remains in contact with the affected skin for a period of time. Simply apply it on the affected area using a cotton ball and leave it overnight. Continue doing this remedy until your warts have completely vanished after 2 to 3 weeks. However, applying apple cider vinegar on your genital warts and then leaving it overnight can be very painful. If you can’t bear the burning sensation for any longer, apply it on your warts by following 15-minute increments throughout the day.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has an antiviral effect. It is a wonderful antiseptic and has antifungal properties as well. It directly targets genital warts without affecting the surrounding skin. Moreover, it is milder than the apple cider vinegar, which means that you will not experience much of a burning sensation. However, tea tree oil is highly concentrated. Thus, the oil cannot be applied to your warts in its purest form. If you do so, skin irritation may occur. Dilute it first with a carrier oil before applying it to your warts.
3. Garlic and Vitamin E
Garlic has both antibacterial and antiviral properties, which is why it is effective in winding away genital warts. Combine it with vitamin E and you will witness its effectiveness in getting rid of your genital warts. You can get vitamin E from fish oil. For its application, just apply fish oil on your genital warts using a cotton ball and then cover the area with a crushed garlic. Place a gauze over it and leave it for around two days. After the 48-hour mark, remove it and then repeat the application with a new set of fish oil and garlic.
Onion is known for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. For this remedy, cut the onion in slices and sprinkle salt on it. Leave it overnight. Salt has antibacterial properties as well, so it will speed up the healing process. The next morning, crush the onions to form a paste. Now, take the juice out of the onions using a sieve and spoon. Apply the extracted juice over your genital warts. Repeat this process several times a day. Although it is an effective home remedy, its healing process is slow. Onions may take several weeks to months to completely clear up your genital warts.
5. Castor Oil
Castor oil has been used centuries ago for the treatment of various skin problems. This oil consists of multiple complex compounds that are helpful in treating genital warts. Castor oil has a pungent smell, which can be unbearable for some people. Hence, if you are also worried about its smell, you can mix it with peppermint oil. Adding peppermint oil will reduce its unpleasant smell. You can also mix some castor oil with baking soda to make a thick paste. Apply this paste over your warts and reapply every few hours. Cover the area with a gauze to avoid getting the paste on your clothes.
6. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruits are an excellent source of antioxidants since they contain vitamins E and C. Grapefruits can boost a person's mental health, immunity, and energy. The fruit has also active antimicrobial and disinfectant effects.
As a home remedy for genital warts, prepare a grapefruit seed extract, which is readily available on the market. Take a drop of the extract and pour it over the wart region. Apply a bandage over it and keep it for the night. Repeat the application for a duration of two weeks. Your genital warts will turn white and fall off.
7. Green Tea
Green tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. The reason behind its popularity is that it offers a plethora of health benefits. Green tea has an energizing flavor and at the same time improves a person's metabolism. It has powerful antioxidants that can boost a person's overall wellness.
Green tea has also been helpful in removing genital and anal warts. All you need is water, green tea leaves, and a pot. Boil the water in the pot and add green tea leaves. Let it simmer for 15 minutes and turn off the flame. Let the tea sit for another 5 minutes (covered). Strain the tea and drink it twice a day.
Green tea bags can also be applied to the affected region to ward off the infection.
8. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has been used for ages to treat a variety of skin ailments. It contains different phytochemicals that help treat medical conditions such as colitis, herpes, diabetes, skin infections, and genital warts, among others.
You will need some aloe vera leaves or an aloe vera gel. Break the leaves or squeeze the gel out the tube and apply on the affected area. Cover it with a bandage and leave it overnight. Repeat the process for 2 to 3 weeks.
9. Banana Peel
Bananas are a rich source of potassium, which is needed in a healthy diet. Not only the banana, but its peel is also useful for the treatment of genital warts. It contains enzymes, which help cure infections.
Take a banana peel and cut a small portion of it. Apply the peel and make sure that it covers the whole affected area (yellow side up). Fix the peel with a bandage and leave it overnight. Do this method for a few weeks until you see good results.
10. Hazel Remedy
Witch hazel is a fine herb that can cure genital warts. It has an astringent nature, which makes it a perfect solution for genital warts as it makes the undesirable tissues to shrink and then eventually fall off. This herb inhibits the growth of genital warts by cutting off the blood supply to these tissues. One can use witch hazel in the form of gel or cream. You can also get the distilled version. Apply the liquid on the affected area and leave it for 10 minutes. Remove the excess solution using a clean dry cloth after 10 minutes. This procedure should be carried out twice a day for one to two weeks.
11. Pineapple Juice
Bromelain is a beneficial enzyme found in pineapples. Pineapple juice helps to break down genital warts. Bromelain is medically used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and dermatitis. Moreover, pineapple is rich in manganese, which avoids scars once the warts are treated. Squeeze out some juice from fresh pineapple pieces. Pour the juice on a cotton swab and place it on the affected areas with just the juice touching them. Let the swab be placed on it for 10 minutes before wiping off the juice.
There are certain oils apart from castor oil, which can be applied on genital warts. These oils can be directly applied to the warts or you can mix them with another oil such as olive oil and almond oil, and then apply this blend to the warts. The oils suitable for the treatment of genital warts include sandalwood oil, lemon oil, vitamin E, fish oil, cashew nut oil, oregano oil, and cod liver oil.
Potatoes in Ayurveda are told to cure genital warts. Potatoes are very nutritious and contain vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. Potatoes are so readily available making them one of the simplest and quickest remedies for genital warts. The enzymes present in potatoes work and heal genital warts. Cut thick slices from one or two potatoes and rub these slices on the genital warts. Repeat this method several times a day and continue doing so for two weeks or until the warts are healed.
Apply thuja oil on genital warts at least three times a day. This remedy may take some time for the warts to heal, but just continue doing so for two weeks or more. Thuja oil can also be blended with another oil before applying to the warts. Men can mix thuja oil with olive oil and then apply the mixture to the warts. For women, thuja oil can be mixed with fresh thuja leaves before application.
While these remedies can be helpful in treating genital warts, make sure not to use them without consulting your doctor. If you already have a prescribed topical treatment for your warts, then applying these remedies can do more harm than good. Therefore, seek a doctor’s advice first before using any kind of home remedies for your genital warts.