Genital warts are caused by a group of viruses known as the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over thirty types of HPV, of which two may be responsible for creating a cancerous condition in the cervix. Most are not serious from a medical point of view but are highly infectious, disfiguring and embarrassing.

They are recognized as small wart-like projections or raised areas found anywhere on the penis or within the vagina, most commonly on the moist surfaces.

As with most infections, the problem may not lie within the area infected but within the immune system as a whole. General health must be encouraged.

Warts very rarely undergo malignant change, but if one is bleeding, itching, growing rapidly or changing colour then an urgent dermatological opinion is recommended.


The best treatment is avoidance, and self-inspection should be encouraged to reduce the risk of spread.

Intercourse with a condom is extremely effective protection.

Specific proprietary topical applications can be used with safety but pay attention to the warning not to place the compound on the surrounding healthy skin. Also, note that compounds used for warts on other parts of the body are not suitable for genital warts.

See Warts and verrucas.

Warts, like any viral infection, are dependent on a depressed immune system. Follow a detoxification programme for a few days and consider a consultation with a nutritionist to discuss diet and lifestyle.

Homeopathic remedies may be considered, depending on the type and place, but particular attention should be paid to Nitric acid and Thuja.

Surgical intervention may be required if warts are disfiguring or spreading. Diathermy (burning), liquid nitrogen application (freezing) and, very rarely, surgical excision may be required.

Viral warts are not an indication of poor hygiene or promiscuity. They may lie dormant from a sexual contact many years before. Be open about the problem and discuss the matter freely. Remember the safety of using a condom.