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OTC Treatment for Genital Warts

by Brad McHargue
  • Overview

    Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact and is highly contagious. There is no cure, and treatment is relegated to clearing up physical evidence of warts and boosting the immune system to stave off flare ups. Although a number of over-the-counter treatments exist for common warts of the hands and feet, these should not be used on genital warts.
  • Risk Factors

    A number of factors can greatly increase the risk of contracting genital warts. First and foremost, the best way to almost eliminate the risk of contracting the virus is by remaining in a monogamous relationship with someone you know has been tested and is free of the virus. Beyond this, you should always wear protection, be it a condom for the men or a dental dam for the women, to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Unfortunately, these methods are not fool proof, and as such the best way to avoid the virus is to abstain from sexual contact with anyone you know who has the virus or anyone who has unprotected sex with more than one person on a regular basis.
  • Over-the -Counter Treatment

    Treating genital warts with any manner of over-the-counter treatment is not recommended in any situation. The genital area is far more sensitive than other parts of the body where warts are likely to occur, such as the hands and feet, and as such medicine used to treat these warts that can be bought without a prescription should not be applied to genital warts. For example, a common genital wart treatment available through a physician is cryotherapy, which literally freezes the wart to the point where it dies and falls off with ease. A number of over-the-counter treatments purport to do such a thing, such as Dr. Scholl's FreezeAway, though they are relegated for use on hand and foot warts. Another example is salicyclic acid, available in over-the-counter medicated pads. While conceivably effective in removing genital warts, it can damage healthy skin, especially the sensitive skin of the genitals.
  • Alternatives

    Since over-the-counter treatments are not recommended for genital warts, you should consult a physician upon discovery of a wart in the genital area. Once genital warts has been confirmed, your doctor will help you outline the best method of treatment and proper ways to prevent spreading the infection to others. A positive diagnosis may be disheartening, and as such speaking with a therapist may provide some additional help.
  • Warnings

    Several websites and anecdotal affirmations of efficacy purport to offer fast, effective relief at treating genital warts through a number of homeopathic and natural treatments. Examples include Wartrol, which boosts the immune system; Dermisil, which is made from plant extracts and contains antiviral properties; and Amoils, which soaks the wart with vitamins and minerals to remove it. Always approach supposed cures and non-FDA approved treatments with caution, and always consult your physician before using any.

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