Warts are a type of infection caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). They are raised, rough, flesh-colored “warty” appearing tumors that may occur singly or in clusters. Left untreated, warts around the anus may rapidly enlarge, taking on a “cauliflower-like” appearance.
Risk factors for genital warts include:
- Multiple sexual partners
- Unknown partners
- Early onset of sexual activity
- Tobacco use
- Nutritional status
- Hormonal conditions
- Concurrent viral infections (such as flu, HIV, Epstein-Barr and herpes)
Often warts disappear on their own, although it may take many months, or even years, for the warts to go away. Some warts won’t go away on their own.
The following are some ways that doctors treat warts on the genitals:
- Applying liquid nitrogen–Warts on the genitals may be frozen with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy). With liquid nitrogen treatment, the doctor applies the liquid nitrogen at a number of different office visits until the warts are completely gone.
- Applying podophyllin–Warts on the genitals may be treated weekly with podophyllin application by the doctor. A medicine called podofilox may also be prescribed. This process is repeated weekly until the warts are gone.
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)–With this method for removing genital warts, the doctor passes a sharp instrument shaped like a loop underneath the wart, cutting the wart out of the skin.
- CO2 laser surgery–For large warts in the genital area, laser surgery may be needed for complete removal.
- Interferon injections–If genital warts don’t go away after they’ve been treated with different methods, the doctor may try an interferon injection into the warts.
Try not to irritate the skin even more by scrubbing the area with soap. This will only cause more irritation and itching. Gentle cleaning with water helps the area heal.
Other home therapies may be tried:
- Change to a plain, soft, unscented toilet paper.
- If toilet paper feels too abrasive, try cleaning with baby wipes. Dry with cotton afterward to remove any moisture. Don’t use soap.
- Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear that allows sweat to evaporate.
- Do not apply any creams or ointment without consulting a doctor.
- Avoid food irritants and eat a high-fiber diet.
Warts on the anogenital area can be passed to another person during sexual intercourse.