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Genital Warts Treatment

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Aldara (Imiquimod) 5% Cream
Pack Size: 12 Sachets (1 Month Treatment)
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Aldara cream should be applied THREE times a week. This could be Monday, Wednesday & Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday or other similar combinations of days. You should always have a gap of at least one day inbetween applications.

Each application of Aldara cream should be carried out as follows: 

1. Before going to bed, wash your hands and the treatment area with mild soap and water. Dry thoroughly.
2. Open a new sachet and squeeze some Aldara cream onto your fingertip.
3. Apply a thin layer of Aldara cream onto clean, dry wart area and rub gently into the skin until cream vanishes.
4. After application of the cream, throw away the opened sachet and wash hands with soap and water.
5. Leave Aldara cream on the warts for 6 to 10 hours. Do not shower or bathe during this time.
6. After 6 to 10 hours wash the area where Aldara cream was applied with mild soap and water.

Do not cover the warts or treated area with dressings or bandages during treatment. 

One sachet contains enough cream to cover a wart area of 20 cm2 (approx. 3 square inches). Each sachet should be thrown away (including any leftover cream) after a single application. Use a new sachet for every day of treatment.

Men with warts under the foreskin should pull the foreskin back each day and wash underneath it.

Continue to use Aldara cream as instructed until your warts have completely gone. Do not use Aldara cream for more than 16 weeks in the treatment of each episode of warts. If your genital warts have not cleared after 16 weeks treatment with Aldara cream you should see your GP to discuss alternate treatment for your genital warts.

Aldara (imiquimod) 5% cream is available to buy from The Independent Pharmacy Online Doctor service, following a free consultation, to treat external genital warts. To find out more about genital warts and see all the available treatments, see our Online Doctor Genital Warts page.

Aldara is licensed explicity for both genital and external anal warts. It is suitable for any number warts, those that are hard to touch or those that are soft and fleshy. Each box of 12 sachets provides 28 days (four weeks) treatment.

Aldara cream helps genital warts to disappear, usually within 4 months of treatment. Half the females who clear will do so in 8 weeks, half the males who clear will do so in 12 weeks but in some patients warts may clear as early as 4 weeks. Once genital warts have been treated using Aldara cream, they are less likely to reappear than without treatment.

Aldara cream contains the active ingredient Imiquimod in a 5% formulation. Imiquimod is primarily used to treat the viral infection (HPV) that causes genital warts. Aldara cream is manufactured by Meda Pharmaceuticals and is classified as a prescription only medicine.  The cream comes packaged as individual sachets, each containing 250mg of Aldara cream. One pack contains twelve sachets of cream. This product is for cutaneous use only.

Genital warts are causes by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Imiquimod cream works to eradicate this virus by helping the body stimulate its own defence mechanisms With the help of imiquimod, the immune system releases chemicals to attack and kills viruses, such as HPV by preventing them from multiplying inside cells. As the HPV type 6 & 11 is killed, your genital warts they are causing will be cured.

Aldara cream can cause some side effects during use due to the sensitivity of the skin you are applying it to. These side effects are generally not serious and should subside within around 2 weeks after you treatment is complete.

Side effects from using Aldara cream can include:

  • redness 
  • wearing away of the skin 
  • flakiness and swelling
  • Hardening under the skin
  • small open sores
  • a crust that forms during healing
  • small bubbles under the skin
  • itching
  • a burning sensation or pain in areas where you have applied Aldara cream. 
Please read the information leaflet supplied with Aldara cream before use for a full list of side effects. 

Please read the following warnings before using Aldara cream to ensure it is safe and effective for you.

  • If you have open sores: do not start using Aldara cream until after the sores have healed.
  • If you have internal warts: do not use Aldara cream in the urethra (the hole from which urine is passed), the vagina (birth canal), the cervix (internal female organ), or anywhere inside your anus (rectum). Do not apply Aldara internally.
  • Aldara cream can weaken latex condoms and diaphragms. Additional contraception may be required. If you decide to have sexual relations while you still have warts, apply Aldara cream after - not before - sexual activity.
  • Do not use Aldara cream without consulting your GP if you have problems with your immune system, either due to illness (e.g. HIV) or because of the medicines you are already taking.
  • If applying the cream is uncomfortable or the area becomes uncomfortavle during treatment, wash the cream of with mild soap and water. Allow the affected area to recover and then restart treament.  
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Warticon Wart Treatment Cream (Podophyllotoxin)
Pack Size: 5g (1 Month Treatment)
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Warticon cream is applied in treatment cycles. It is used TWICE daily, roughly 12 hours apart, for THREE consectuive days. You then have a four day break. This is one 7-day treatment cycle. Treatment cycles can be repeated for four consecutive weeks.

How to apply Warticon Cream

  1. Wash the affected areas with soap and water. Dry the area gently with a clean towel.
  2. Using a fingertip, apply Warticon Cream to cover each wart. Use only enough cream to cover each wart.
  3. Rub the cream into the wart. Be careful not to get the cream onto healthy skin. If this happens, wash the cream off with soap and water.
  4. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Warticon cream is available to buy from The Independent Pharmacy Online Doctor service, following a free consultation, to treat external genital warts. To find out more about genital warts and see all the available treatments, see our Online Doctor Genital Warts page.

Warticon cream contains the active ingredient Podophyllotoxin, which is a plant extract used to treat and remove warts. Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), and presents as small lumps that develop on the genitals and around the anus. Podophyllotoxin is a natural anti-viral treatment that attacks and destroys the human papilloma virus that causes genital warts. This will cause the wart cells to eventually die, which allows new healthy tissue to grow in its place. Warticon is applied to the genital warts for three consecutive days in weekly treatment cycles.

Warticon cream is manufactured by Stiefel and is classified as a prescription only medicine (POM). One pack of Warticon contains a 5g tube of cream, which is usually sufficient for one month’s worth of treatment – this is normally sufficient for most people. Warticon cream should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Warticon cream can cause local side effects at the area of application. These will not occur in everyone, however they can include:

  • wearing away of the top layers of skin
  • irritation including redness, itching, and a burning sensation

If you experience any of the following side effects whilst using Warticon cream you should discontinue use and speak to your doctor: 

  • severe burning
  • stinging
  • pain
  • bleeding
  • itching
  • swelling
It is important that you read the patient information leaflet that comes with Warticon cream for a full list of side effects and other relevant information.

Warticon cream is not suitable for you from The Online Doctor if:

  • You are allergic to podophyllotoxin or any of the other ingredients
  • The skin around or covering the wart is damaged, broken or bleeding.
  • Your warts cover an area of 4cm - around the size of a postage stamp.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Whilst using Warticon cream:

  • Only apply to affected areas - do not use on healthy skin.
  • Do not get Warticon cream in your eyes or mouth.
  • Do not apply to the inside of the vagina, penis or rectum - Warticon is only for use on external skin.
  • Do not cover the treated areas with plasters or dressings.
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Order in for Next Day Delivery
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Warticon Solution is applied in treatment cycles. It is used TWICE daily, roughly 12 hours apart, for THREE consectuive days. You then have a four day break. This is one 7-day treatment cycle. Treatment cycles can be repeated for four consecutive weeks.

How to apply Warticon Solution

  1. Wash the affected areas with soap and water. Dry the area gently with a clean towel.
  2. Use a new applicator each time you apply Warticon Solution.
  3. Dip the ‘Loop’ end of the applicator into the Warticon Solution. If you have a large wart (no larger than a postage stamp) or lots of warts in a small area, dip the ‘Spatula’ end of the applicator into the solution.
  4. Apply the solution to a wart until it is just covered and allow to dry. Be careful not to get the Warticon onto healthy skin. If this happens, wash the solution off with soap and water.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each wart. Allow all the skin treated with Warticon Solution to dry before letting other skin touch the affected area.
  6. Wash your hands thoroughly after using Warticon Solution.
  7. Make sure you screw the lid back on tightly.
Read the patient information leaflet supplied with Warticon solution for further information and diagrams.

Warticon solution is available to buy from The Independent Pharmacy Online Doctor service, following a free consultation, to treat external genital warts. To find out more about genital warts and see all the available treatments, see our Online Doctor Genital Warts page.

Warticon solution contains the active ingredient Podophyllotoxin, which is a plant extract used to treat and remove warts. Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), and presents as small lumps that develop on the genitals and around the anus. Podophyllotoxin is a natural anti-viral treatment that attacks and destroys the human papilloma virus that causes genital warts. This will cause the wart cells to eventually die, which allows new healthy tissue to grow in its place. Warticon is applied to the genital warts for three consecutive days in weekly treatment cycles.

Warticon solution may be easier for males to apply than the cream due to the nature and position of the genitals. Women are normally advised to use Warticon cream to treat their genital warts. 

Warticon solution is manufactured by Stiefel and is classified as a prescription only medicine (POM). One pack of Warticon contains a 3mL bottle of solution, which is usually enough for one month’s worth of treatment – this is normally sufficient for most people. Warticon solution should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

If you experience side effects when using Warticon solution, they are likely to appear at the site of application. They are usually mild and can include:

  • wearing away of the top layers of skin
  • irritation including redness, itching, and a burning sensation

If you experience any of the following side effects whilst using Warticon solution you should discontinue use and speak to your doctor: 

  • severe burning
  • stinging
  • pain
  • bleeding
  • itching
  • swelling
It is important that you read the patient information leaflet that comes with Warticon solution for a full list of side effects and other relevant information.

Warticon solution is not suitable for you from The Online Doctor if:

  • You are allergic to podophyllotoxin or any of the other ingredients.
  • The skin around or covering the wart is damaged, broken or bleeding.
  • Your warts cover an area of 4cm - around the size of a postage stamp.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Whilst using Warticon solution:

  • Only apply to affected areas - do not use on healthy skin.
  • Do not get Warticon solution in your eyes or mouth.
  • Do not apply to the inside of the vagina, penis or rectum - Warticon is only for use on external skin.
  • Do not cover the treated areas with plasters or dressings.

About Genital Warts

Genital Warts Background

The Independent Pharmacy Online Doctor service allows patients who have genital warts to have a private consultation with a doctor and receive the treatment they require in a safe and discreet manner.

Genital warts are the second most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in England. They are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They resemble small fleshy bumps on the skin and are found on and around the genital area. Genital warts usually don’t cause any pain or threat to health, however, they can look extremely unpleasant, which may cause emotional distress.

The papilloma virus that causes genital warts is passed from person to person through sexual contact. Both men and women can carry and pass on the virus. Unlike Chlamydia, genital warts can be passed on through skin to skin contact as well as penetrative sex. It is much more likely for the infection to spread if visible warts are already present, though it is still possible to pass on the infection even if the warts have disappeared. The virus is unable to pass through condoms, however, if the genital warts are on a part of the genitals not covered by the condom, then the infection can still be spread. Genital warts can spread to the anal area without necessarily engaging in anal sex. If partaking in oral sex, it is possible for the infection to develop in the mouth, although this is very rare. Genital warts cannot be spread from kissing, hugging or from sharing household objects, such as bath towels, toilet seats, plates and cutlery.

The human papilloma virus belongs to a family of more than a hundred different viral strains. These different strains can affect different areas of the body. There are around thirty strains of HPV that can affect the genital skin. However, most of these strains rarely cause any visible symptoms. It is estimated that approximately ninety percent of all genital wart cases are caused by just two strains of the HPV – type 6 and type 11.

Genital Warts Symptoms

The majority of people infected with HPV won’t present with any visible warts or symptoms. The virus will usually go away on its own. If warts do develop it can take several weeks, month or even years, after initially coming into contact with the virus. When they do physically present they will typically appear as small fleshy bumps on the skin around the genital area. They can appear singularly or in groups. When clustered together they can take on a ‘cauliflower’ type appearance. They also range in size, in many cases being so small that the sufferer won’t even notice them. The most common places to find genital warts differs between men and women.

For women, genital warts are usually found:

  • Around the opening of the vagina (the vulva)
  • In the neck of the womb (the cervix)
  • Around and inside the anus
  • On the upper thighs

In men genital warts are usually found:

  • On the penis
  • On the scrotum
  • Around and inside the anus
  • On the upper thighs
  • Inside the urethra

Genital warts are usually painless, in some cases they can itch and become inflamed. Potentially, this can lead to bleeding form the anus, vagina or urethra. If your flow of urine appears disrupted this may suggest the presence of genital warts in the urethra.

Genital Warts Diagnosis

It is recommended you pay a visit to your local sexual health clinic if you suspect you have genital warts for the first time. If a current or recent sexual partner develops the infection, you should also seek medical advice, even if you haven’t developed any warts yourself.

Genital warts are usually diagnosed through a simple visual examination. A doctor or nurse will examine the genital area to check for warts or changes to the skin around the genital area. As genital warts can be very small the examiner may use a magnifying lens to help detect their presence. If the warts are suspected in places not visually obvious then a more detailed examine may be called for. This can include:

    • Vaginal examination: this is usually done using a vaginal speculum, which is a small plastic or metal tube. This device doesn’t cause any pain and will allow the doctor or nurse to see inside the vaginal.
    • Anal examination: This is usually performed with a device called a proctoscope. A proctoscope is a small plastic tube that will enable the doctor or nurse to examine the skin inside the anus. This examination is not usually painful.
    • Urethra examination: If genital warts are suspected inside the urethra then it may be necessary to have special examination of the urethra. This examination will need to be performed by a specialist.

All consultations and examinations with your GP or sexual health clinic are strictly confidential.

Genital Warts Treatment

Genital warts are usually treated with topical preparations such as Aldara Cream (imiquimod) and Warticon (Podophyllotoxin).

  • Aldara Cream contains the active ingredient Imiquimod. Aldara Cream is usually reserved to treat larger genital warts. It works by stimulating the immune system to attack the HPV infection. Aldara is applied directly onto the genital warts and left for six to ten hours before washing it off. This process should be repeated three times a week.
  • Warticon 0.15% Cream contains the active ingredient Podophyllotoxin. Podophyllotoxin is usually used when treating clusters of smaller warts. Warticon works by poisoning the cells of the genital warts, killing them off. Warticon is used in cycles. You start by applying the cream to the genital warts twice daily for three days. This is followed by a rest period of four days without treatment. Then the process is repeated again. On average most sufferers using Podophyllotoxin (Warticon) will require four to five cycles to provide effective treatment.
  • Warticon 0.5% Solution also contains podophyllotoxin. It can be used as an alternative to Warticon cream and is generally only used in males as application of the solution can beharder in females. The treatment regime for Warticon solution is the same as the cream above, twice daily applications for three days completed in weekly cycles.

Should topical treatments prove ineffective then there are several physical techniques that can be considered by your GP. These include:

  • Cryotherapy: Freezing the warts using liquid nitrogen.
  • Excision: This is where the warts are removed by cutting them away.
  • Electrosurgery: using electric currents to burn away the genital warts. Electrosurgery is a specialist treatment.
  • Laser surgery: This is also a specialist treatment using a laser to bun away warts. This treatment is usually reserved for hard to reach genital warts, such as warts inside the anus and urethra.

Genital Warts Prevention

By following the measure below you can significantly reduce your risk of developing genital warts and other sexually transmitted infections:

  • Use condoms during vaginal and anal sex. This will help protect against genital warts and other sexual transmitted disease. Using condoms will help prevent you from getting or passing on the HPV infection, especially if they are used while the genital warts are visibly present and for three months after they have disappeared.
  • If engaging in oral sex, use a condom to cover the penis or a polyurethane square (dental dam) to cover the female genitals and anus.
  • Avoid sharing sex toys where possible. Otherwise ensure they are washed or covered with a fresh condom between users.
  • If you’re a woman engaging in sex with another women, use a soft polyurethane or latex square (dental dam) to cover your vulva when rubbing it against your partner’s vulva.

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Genital Warts FAQ's

 

 

 

What causes genital warts?

Genital warts are caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 150 different types that cause infection on the skin surface. Certain types of HPV cause warts on the hands or feet, while others can cause visible genital warts. Genital warts are specifically caused by HPV type 6 & 11.

 

What do genital warts look like?

Genital warts are small fleshy growths or bumps that can appear ‘cauliflower’ shaped. In women they can appear on vulva, inside the vagina and on the cervix. In men the warts can appear on the penis and scrotum. Warts can also affect the groin, thigh and anus in both sexes.

 

Who gets genital warts?

If you are sexually active, evidence suggests that at some point during your life you will suffer with some form of HPV infection, though not necessarily genital warts. Most HPV infections will go unnoticed and will clear up spontaneously without the need for treatment.

 

How do you get HPV or genital warts?

Genital warts are usually spread by direct, skin-to-skin contact during vaginal or anal sex. It is also possible, but rare, to transmit them to the mouth by oral sex.

Warts on the hands and other areas of the body are caused by different strains of HPV, not the same ones responsible for genital warts. Contact with these warts on other areas of the body does not seem to cause genital warts.

 

I have some genital warts that have just appeared. Will my partner think I have cheated on them?

If you have unprotected sex with someone with genital warts, you are at risk of catching HPV and developing them yourself. You can still get genital warts even if you use a condom, depending on the area they affect in your sexual partner. Not everyone who is exposed to HPV 6 or 11 will go on to develop genital warts, however if you do they can take weeks or even months to develop. This can make it hard to know exactly when or from whom you got the virus.

 

How would I know if I had genital warts?

External genital warts are normally noticed by either examining the area visually or by touch. In some cases in cane be difficult to know, especially if the warts are flesh coloured. Sometimes people do not notice warts because they are inside the vagina, or on the cervix, or in the anus Only rarely do they cause symptoms such as itching, pain, or bleeding.

Sometimes genital warts will be found during an examination for a different condition. For women, an abnormal cervical smear may be the first warning sign that HPV is present, though a cervical smear is not a test for HPV.

 

How are genital warts diagnosed?

Genital warts can be normally be self-diagnosed although if you are in any doubt you should see your GP or local sexual health clinic for a formal diagnosis.

 

What should my partner do if I have genital warts or HPV?

Your partner should inspect themselves for signs of genital warts. If they have any visible external genital warts they should seek treatment. You should try to avoid sexual contact until both of your cases of genital warts have cleared up, however if this is not possible you should use a condom.

 

How are genital warts treated?

Genital warts don’t always require treatment; a lot of cases will slowly clear up on the own. However, due to the sensitive nature of the condition, which can often be unsightly and embarrassing, many people seek treatment to speed up the process. Treatment should aim to remove all the externally visible warts and hence also relieve any uncomfortable symptoms.

The available treatments for genital warts from The Independent Pharmacy Online Doctor are:

Podophyllotoxin (Warticon) is available as a solution and a cream. The solution is a patient applied treatment for external genital warts. It is normally recommended for men only as it is can be difficult for women to self-apply. Warticon cream may be more appropriate for women suffering with external genital warts.

Imiquimod (Aldara) cream can be used to treat external genital and perianal (around the groin and anus) warts. It is easy and safe to use for both males and females.  

Treatment with Warticon or Aldara can take a number of weekly cycles so you must be patient during treatment. You can read more about each treatment on their own pages by clicking their titles above.

If you are pregnant or think you might be, you should see your own GP for extra checks, treatment from the Online Doctor is unsuitable for you.

You should not use over the counter wart treatments that are not specifically for genital warts. These are not meant for sensitive genital skin.

It is recommended to avoid sexual contact with the infected area during treatment, to protect the treated area of skin from friction and help it heal.

 

Can HPV and genital warts be cured?

Genital wart treatment aims to remove the external warts but it does not kill the HPV virus. This means that in some cases the virus can lie dormant and recur at a later date, although this is not always the case. It can take several treatment cycles to completely get rid of genital warts. Unfortunately there is no cure for HPV itself.

 

What about HPV, genital warts and cancer?

The strains of HPV linked to cervical cancer are not usually the types linked with genital warts (HPV 6 & 11). However, a woman with genital warts, like any other sexually active woman, should have regular smears to check their cervix.

HPV vaccination and regular cervical smears are the best safeguard against cervical cancer. Cervical smears detect abnormal cells present on the surface of the cervix. Cancer almost always can be prevented through the early detection and treatment of abnormal cervical tissue.

 

What about HPV, genital warts and pregnancy?

Genital warts very rarely cause problems during pregnancy and delivery. However due to changes in the body during pregnancy, warts can grow in size and number. If you have genital warts or think you may have been exposed to genital warts and you are or may be pregnant, you should see your GP for further advice and treatment.

The Independent Pharmacy is an online pharmacy and online doctor service is owned and operated by ABSM Healthcare Ltd (Company Reg. 08515600) and Red Label Medical Ltd (Company Reg. 08676338). All information that appears on this website is intended for information purposes only and should be used to supplement, not replace, your relationship with your local healthcare professionals. You should consult your doctor if you think you may have a health problem or before you start taking a new medicine. Please ensure you always read the information leaflets supplied with any medicinal products.For more information see our policies and terms and conditions at the bottom of every page. © 2014 ABSM Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved.
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