Genital warts Removal with salicylic acid

The Mayo Clinic Diet Book, learn more

Free

E-newsletter

Subscribe to Housecall

Our weekly general interest
e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.

By Mayo Clinic staff Warts often go away without treatment. But even if your warts have disappeared or have been removed, you can still harbor HPV and may transmit the virus to others.

Medications
Medications to eliminate warts are typically applied directly to the lesion and usually take many applications before they are successful. Examples include:

  • Salicylic acid. Over-the-counter treatments that contain salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. Don't use these products for genital warts, as they will cause severe irritation.
  • Imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara). This prescription cream may enhance your immune system's ability to fight HPV. Common side effects of imiquimod include redness and swelling at the application site.
  • Podofilox (Condylox). Another type of topical prescription, podofilox works by destroying genital wart tissue. Podofilox may cause pain and itching where it's applied.
  • Trichloroacetic acid. This chemical treatment burns off genital warts and may cause local irritation.

Surgical and other procedures
If medications don't work, your doctor may suggest one of the following procedures, which physically remove warts by:

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy)
  • Electrocautery, which uses an electrical current to burn off warts or lesions
  • Surgical removal
  • Laser surgery

References

  1. HPV (Human papillomavirus). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
  2. Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
  3. Castle PE. The life cycle, natural history, and immunology of human papillomaviruses. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
  4. Genital HPV infection: Fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
  5. Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
  6. Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
  7. Reichman R. Epidemiology of human papillomavirus infections. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
  8. Palefsky JM, et al. Virology of human papillomavirus infections and the link to cancer. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Recommendations on the use of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine in males - Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recommendations and Reports. 2011:60;1705.
  10. Salicylic acid. Micromedex Healthcare Series. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
  11. Imiquimod. Micromedex Healthcare Series. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
  12. Podofilox. Micromedex Healthcare Series. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012.
  13. Mulhem E, et al. Treatment of nongenital cutaneous warts. American Family Physician. 2011;84:288.
  14. Steckelberg JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 3, 2012.

Related posts: