WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Genital warts are growths that appear in or on the penis, vagina, or anus. Genital warts are spread during genital, anal, or oral sex. A woman can also pass them to a baby when she gives birth.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your genital warts return.
- The skin that is being treated for genital warts is very painful or swollen.
- You see or feel new warts on another part of your body.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Immunomodulators help strengthen your immune system and treat genital warts.
- Antiproliferatives help stop genital warts from growing in size or increasing in number.
- Antivirals help control and stop virus growth, such as HPV.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Do not touch or scratch the warts. This can cause the infection to spread to other parts of your body.
- Do not have sex while you are being treated for genital warts. Medicine used on your skin weakens condoms and diaphragms. You also risk spreading genital warts to your partner.
- Get regular Pap smears. If you are a woman, this can help diagnose HPV and prevent the spread of the virus.
Prevent genital warts:
- Tell your sexual partners that you are being treated for genital warts. They may also be infected and need treatment.
- Get the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is given at 9 to 26 years of age to help prevent cervical cancer and genital warts. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about this vaccine.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.