For a disease that affects nearly half the population of sexually active adults sooner or later in their lives, genital warts are not talked about as much as you’d expect. Perhaps, it is due to the stigma associated with the disease and the “hush culture” that is prevalent in our society when it comes to discussing STDs. Creating awareness is, thus, of vital importance to ensure proper clinical diagnosis and treatment in time.
What are genital warts?
Genital warts are bumps that can develop on the genital areas of both males and females. The disease is mainly transmitted from an infected individual to another person by means of unprotected sexual contact. It is caused by particular low-risk strains of the Human Papilloma Virus. The HPV resides in damp, membranous sites of the human body, including but not limited to the anus, the vagina, and the urethra. The good news, however, is that cases of HPV genital warts almost never become cancerous. HIV-infected people are more likely to fall prey to genital warts due to their diminished immunity.
Know your virus
HPV is one of the most commonly transmitted viruses, with 79 million American young adults currently infected. There are several strains of this virus currently in circulation, some being high-risk and others being low-risk. The virus is also responsible for causing cervical cancer in women. Strains 16 and 18 are responsible for a majority of cervical cancer cases. Vaccinations are recommended as means of prevention and can be administered during childhood as well as adulthood. Practicing safe sex with one partner (who is free from infection) at a time, is vital.
What are its symptoms?
HPV takes a long time to manifest itself and the infection may even get eliminated naturally by the body without the person ever being aware of the presence of the virus. For males, the most common sites where warts might develop are the penis, the scrotal sac, the inner thighs, and in and around the anus. For females, the areas in and around the vagina and anus are most prone to developing warts. Warts can also occur on the lips, mouth, and tongue of a person upon engaging in unprotected oral sex with an infected person(1).
Diagnosing the virus
While there is no concrete HPV test available in the market, doctors usually confirm whether a patient has the virus or not by inquiring about his or her sexual history and checking for symptoms such as oral or genital warts. For women, a Pap test might be conducted to check for changes in the cervical lining that may indicate whether or not she has cervical cancer, therefore confirming the presence or absence of HPV in her bloodstream. Pap smears are also used to locate warts inside the vagina. Anal Pap tests are also conducted on patients who have had receptive anal sex.
Can complications arise?
Think of it this way: if you have genital warts, you’re dealing with the least severe symptom of the HPV! Warts can generally be treated quite easily, but HPV may cause other complications. When a pregnant woman contracts the virus, there is a slight chance that it might be passed on to the child. Moreover, her existing warts might increase in size and bleed or burn. High-risk strains of the virus can cause precancerous alterations to the cells of the cervical lining, commonly known as dysplasia. Contraction of the virus may prove fatal amongst HIV-infected people.
Are HPV Genital Warts curable?
Unfortunately, a permanent cure for the condition is yet to be discovered. While the warts generally disappear with time, with or without treatment, the underlying HPV continues to reside in your bloodstream, which may lead to the development of genital warts yet again. Vaccines are available as preventive measures, which can be administered between the ages of 9 and 26, in 3 distinct shots. As for warts, they can be treated via topical creams and ointment or by means of more immediate surgical measures, such as freezing. It is, however, a much safer alternative to choose natural treatment options.
Why opt for home remedies?
While surgical or prescription options might help you achieve the desired results faster, they usually involve application or administration of harsh drugs, which are especially unsafe for the genital region. Moreover, for those suffering from a case of recurring genital warts, frequent usage of prescription drugs and chemicals might do more harm than good. Natural remedies, on the other hand, are completely safe and do not cause any side effects, although they do take longer than their pharmaceutical counterparts in proving their efficiency. You will need to be regular and thorough with these remedies to obtain optimum results.
Without further delay, here are 10 safe remedies that you can prepare by yourself at home to treat genital warts:
1. Apple cider vinegar: the multitasking elixir
ACV can be used to treat a plethora of conditions, such as acne, diabetes, frequent stomach upsets, and thankfully genital warts as well. Apple cider vinegar is ideal for warts removal because it loosens the infected skin, causing the wart to dry out and fall off. Mix two tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of ACV. Soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply it directly to the infected area. Cover with Band-Aid to let it rest overnight. Remove the dressing in the morning and repeat the procedure every night until you obtain your desired results.
2. The Magic Of Tea Tree Oil
Essential oils, in general, are used to treat a variety of physical disorders due to their myriad healing properties. Tea tree oil is renowned for its antifungal properties that can be appropriated as a home remedy for warts.(2) It is rich in antioxidants which help combat topical ailments like warts. Prepare a solution with one-part tea tree oil and 2-parts coconut oil. Apply a few drops of the mixture on the infected area. Before applying to the infected area, place a drop of the mixture on a small patch of your skin first to ensure that you are not allergic.
3. Trust Aloe Vera’s Anti-Toxin Properties to Combat Warts
The extracts of the aloe plant are generally used to treat skin irritations of all kinds. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that allow your skin to heal quickly. Since the aloe gel has a cooling effect, it can also be used to treat warts inside the anus. Scoop out the contents of an aloe leaf and use a Q-tip or a cotton ball to apply the gel on the infected areas. Tape the cotton ball on the external parts of your body and let it sit overnight. Make sure to clean the area in the morning with lukewarm water.
4. Let oatmeal soothe your skin
Oatmeal can be used as a remedy to help ease the itchiness and dryness that are generally associated with genital warts. Although this remedy is not really meant to treat genital warts, it can soothe the skin temporarily and alleviate your discomfort, owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. Fill your bath with lukewarm water and add 2 cups of finely powdered oatmeal to the water. Taking an oatmeal bath once a day is recommended for patients with severe cases of warts. Alternatively, mix water with coarse-grained oatmeal to achieve a paste-like product that you can use to exfoliate the infected areas.
5. Garlic to ward off vampires and warts
The antimicrobial properties of garlic have long been used to treat a variety of diseases. Not only does garlic treat the condition, but also sanitizes the infected area to stop the infection from spreading. To prepare this remedy, you can either purchase garlic extracts from your local store or grate a few cloves of freshly peeled garlic and allow them to soak in oil overnight. Soak a cotton ball or gauze in the mixture and place it directly on the warts. Let it sit for as long as possible and make sure that you wash off the oil later using lukewarm water.
6. Fig to treat warts
The milky extract of the leaf of the fig plant is an excellent source of the enzyme Ficain that treats genital warts while simultaneously cooling the infected area to ease the irritation and discomfort. On breaking open a fresh fig leaf, you will notice the milky sap oozing out. Store the sap in a container in a cool, dry area. Dip a clean cotton ball into the milk and dab it directly on the warts. This remedy can also be used to get rid of penile warts. Be thorough with the treatment and administer is at least twice every day.
7. Let pineapple juice heal your warts
You know that tingling sensation you feel on your tongue while enjoying a slice of pineapple? That’s because of an enzyme called Bromelain. The enzyme picks at your skin tissue, which is why it is used to treat acne, psoriasis, and warts, among others. The fruit is also rich in manganese that prevents scar tissue from developing. Extract the juice from a few pieces of freshly-cut pineapple slices. Dip a clean cotton ball into the juice and dab it on the infected regions. Let the juice sit for ten minutes after which you should clean the areas with cold water.
8. Casting a spell on warts with witch hazel
Witch hazel, nature’s very own astringent, has amazing dehydrating properties. Regular exposure of the wart to witch hazel extracts will cause it to shrink and detach itself. Witch hazel extract causes the channels of blood supply to the wart to shrink (3). This ensures that the wart has no more scope of growth. An excellent cure for vaginal warts, a diluted witch hazel solution can be prepared by letting the herb soak in a carrier oil overnight or boiling it in 2 cups’ worth of water. Dip a cotton ball into the solution and apply it on the affected areas.
9. Peel warts off with banana peels
Banana peels are abundant in antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals that can go a long way in treating the severity of your genital warts. Bad breath, an early sign of developing warts, can also be nullified by incorporating bananas into your diet. Cut a piece out of a banana peel that is approximately the same shape and size as that of your wart. Place it on the affected area and secure it by using a Band-Aid. Let it sit overnight and remove the peel and the tape the following morning. Noticeable improvements will be seen in a few weeks.
10. Castor oil for wart removal
Castor oil is one of the most potent natural solutions for treating cases of genital warts. Castor oil is a storehouse of a large number of minerals and complex compounds that work together to gradually eliminate your warts. If the remedy needs to be applied internally, make sure that the bottle says that it is 100% pure castor oil. Apply the oil liberally on the affected areas and for faster healing, swab the areas with a freshly-cut clove of garlic. After a few weeks, the wart will dry up, turn black in color and fall off your body.
Answering your queries
Here are the most commonly asked questions regarding genital warts:
- What can genital warts be misdiagnosed as? Self-diagnosis leads to warts being mistaken for skin tags, acne bumps, and other harmless skin eruptions.
- What is the best way to treat them? Regular administration of a suitable natural remedy, along with antibiotics, is sufficient.
- Is it safe to pop them? Absolutely not. If your warts require to be drained, it should only be done by a trained professional.
- Are genital warts and genital herpes the same thing? No. They are caused by different viruses and lead to different sets of problems.
Preventing HPV-contraction without having to become celibate
It is completely okay to have sex – premarital, straight, gay, anal, oral – all kinds of sex! As long as certain cautionary measures are being taken by any and all parties involved, sex doesn’t necessarily have to become scary.
- Use a condom. Make sure that neither you nor your partner are allergic to latex. Using more than one condom is a strict no-no because the friction between the two might cause rupture.
- Using dental dams ensures safe oral sex.
- Go in for regular check-ups both for your sake and that of your partner’s, especially if you have had multiple sexual partners.
Although a cure for genital warts is not available, the condition is treatable. Natural remedies, a healthy lifestyle, and regular checkups can go a long way in keeping the disease in check.
Related Helpful Resources –
- 12 Home Remedies for Vaginal Itching
- 15 Remedies to Treat Blind Pimples Under Skin Quickly
- Folliculitis Cure – Signs, Symptoms & Treatment