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Genital Warts

Common Symptom Checker & Treatment Options For Genital Warts

by Mr William Obeng

Genital warts are the UK’s most common viral STI, accounting for 15.7% of all STIs diagnosed in 2015. While the number of people suffering from genital warts has fallen steadily since 2008, the number of symptoms remain the same. 

Below we have covered off all of the symptoms of genital warts, along with detailing the many available treatments to treat your genital warts. 


What is the cause of genital warts? 

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), with most caused by strains H6 and H11 of the virus. It takes up to 3 months for the HPV to develop into genital warts and there are a number of common symptoms that make genital warts easy to spot at home. (Some strains of HPV are completely harmless and go away by themselves).

The HPV virus is passed on through sexual skin-to-skin contact and is very easy to contract. In fact, most people get HPV during their lives. Only certain strains or cases will develop into genital warts. 


Spotting genital warts in men & women: telltale symptoms

People often find out they have genital warts by spotting small fleshy lumps around their pubic area. Both men and women develop these small bumps that tend to be 1-3 mm in size. Warts can be either flat or raised and they almost look like a small cauliflower. You may need a mirror to see them properly — the smaller ones can be tricky to spot, especially amongst pubic hair.

If any of the following are true, you should see a doctor or go to a sexual health clinic as you will need extra checks to make sure you are getting the right treatment:

  • The lumps behave like spots or are fluid-filled or blister-like (unlikely to be genital warts)
  • Bleeding or itching from either your anus or your genitals
  • You have experienced a change in the flow of your urine. 

These symptoms are known as referral symptoms and may mean that you have symptoms that indicate that further investigation is necessary. Don’t delay in seeking for medical help to ensure your treatment is safe and effective.


Common areas for genital warts in women 

There are a number of common areas that genital warts tend to develop on women:

  • 66% of cases – around the opening of your vagina (vulva)
  • 33% of cases –  between your anus and vagina 

In these slightly more rare cases, you should go see a doctor or visit a sexual health clinic if warts develop:

  • Inside your vagina
  • On the neck of your womb (cervix)
  • At the opening of your urethra.


Common areas for genital warts in men 

Men also have a number of symptoms unique to their gender. Genital warts can develop in many different areas of the groin:

  • 50% of cases – on the shaft of your penis (often just below your foreskin)
  • 10% of cases – on your glans (the head of your penis)
  • 8.33% of cases – under your foreskin
  • 3.33% of cases – between your scrotum and anus
  • 1% of cases – on your scrotum.

In these slightly more rare cases, you should go see a doctor or visit a sexual health clinic if warts develop:

  • At the opening of your urethra.


Will genital warts make me infertile? 

There is no known evidence that being infected with genital warts will have any impact at all on your fertility rate. 


Is there a cure for genital warts? 

At present, there is no cure for genital warts. However, while you cannot cure yourself of genital warts, it is possible for you to clear your body of genital warts and there are a number of treatments available to help you do so. 


What are the treatment options for genital warts?

There are both medical and surgical treatments for your genital warts and various different options within each. 


Physical ablation

There are four procedures for physically and surgically treating your genital warts: 

  • Cryotherapy – This treats your genital warts by freezing them with liquid nitrogen and then removing them from your body.
  • Excision – A local anaesthetic is applied to your genital warts before they are surgically cut away.
  • Electrosurgery – This is used in combination with excision for the treatment of larger genital warts. Excision is used to cut the bulk of your wart away before a metal loop is pressed to the remainder of the wart. An electrical current is then passed through the wart to burn it off.
  • Laser surgery – Used for large genital warts that are difficult to access, a laser is used to burn away warts.


Topical treatments

There are a number of creams and solutions available for you treat your genital warts

  • Condyline 0.5% Solution A clear solution which contains the active ingredient podophyllotoxin, you apply this cream directly onto your genital warts. It then works by targeting your genital warts’ ability to multiply, stopping them from growing.
  • Warticon Solution Using the active ingredient podophyllotoxin, this solution treats your genital warts by attacking and erasing the HPV responsible for causing them.
  • Warticon Cream This cream also has podophyllotoxin as its active ingredient. It fights the HPV responsible for causing your genital warts and eventually causes them to die, with healthy skin tissue replacing the dead cells.
  • Aldara (Imiquimod) 5% Creamthis cream is licensed explicitly for the treatment of external anal warts and genital warts. It works as immune response modifier (IRM), helping the body to build up and implement its own defence systems.

You can find more in-depth information about the topical treatments available to treat your genital warts by visiting or GP or pharmacist. 


Genital warts may be the most common STI in the UK, but it is also one of the STIs with the broadest range and most accessible treatments. We recommend speaking to your GP or a registered pharmacist before you decide which of the common treatment options covered in this article.

Authored By:

A photo of  William Obeng

William Obeng

MPharm IP

Published on: 03-05-2018

Last modified on: 03-05-2018

Reviewed By:

A photo of  Andy Boysan

Andy Boysan


Reviewed on: 03-05-2018

Next review date: 03-05-2020

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