Over 90 per cent of cases of genital warts are caused by two particular strains of HPV: HPV 6 and HPV 11. HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted disease that is passed through skin-to-skin contact. Genital warts could be so small you do not see them, or they could appear as small cauliflower-shaped bumps or small, flesh-coloured bumps. They could appear around the penis, the area between the penis and scrotum, by the anus, on the vagina, the vulva, the cervix or in the perineal area. The warts themselves must be treated by the doctor, while HPV is generally not treatable at all.
The warts themselves are treated by removing the wart. There are a number of procedures in a doctor's office available to do this, including cyrosurgery (freezing the warts), laser surgery, or an electrosurgical procedure called a LEEP, which involves cutting the warts from the skin using a loop-shaped piece of equipment. Although there are a number of prescription options available, non-prescription or over-the-counter treatments are more limited.
Condysil Gel is an over-the-counter cream that is applied directly to the genital warts. Its manufacturer claims the product removes the warts without freezing or burning the skin. It is available from several internet sources, and no prescription is required. The gel should be applied twice daily.
Wartol is another non-prescription product recommended for the treatment of genital warts. It claims to be a natural approach with a 97-per cent success rate. Anecdotal evidence suggests an overall reduction in outbreaks of genital warts, if not complete elimination. It is available in drug stores and on the internet and dosage recommendations suggest it should be used for three months.
Dermisil is a third over-the-counter option. The manufacturer describes it as slower-acting but still effective at eliminating genital warts. Anecdotal evidence suggests users have seen results in approximately two to three weeks. The medication should be applied for at least six months to prevent relapse outbreaks of genital warts.
Dangers of Over-The-Counter Cures
Many of the over-the-counter cures for genital warts have not been proven effective. Furthermore, the underlying cause of genital warts--HPV--can also lead to cancers of the cervix, vagina and penis if not properly treated. Thus, a visit to a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment both for genital warts and for the underlying HPV is essential. Although HPV can't be treated once you contract it, your body can be monitored for signs of cancers caused by the virus.
Standard, over-the-counter wart medications should also not be used for genital warts treatment as genital warts are distinct from warts on the hands, feet or other parts of the body and the creams can be ineffective or even dangerous.