Is There A Cure?
HPV Causes Genital Warts
Human papillomavirus (HPV) comes in approximately 100 different strains, each with its own peculiarities and each having its own effects upon the human body. Each strain of HPV has a number assigned to it and we now know that there are two strains known to cause genital warts - HPV 6 and 11. HPV 16, 18 and several others have been linked to cervical cancer.
HPV is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact and does not necessarily require sexual intercourse in order to be acquired. Because it does not always produce symptoms, HPV can be very deceiving. An infected person may have genital warts or another sign of the virus, however, a person can be infected with the strain of HPV which causes genital warts and never have a case of warts. That same person can infect and transmit HPV to other people, even though they do not exhibit signs of the virus themselves.
Condoms and Injections
The use of condoms, while reducing the chances of becoming infected, is no guarantee of total protection because they do not cover the entire genital area. A person can still contract HPV and manifest genital warts even though they are having protected sex. Immunization is another preventative measure but this method is for women only. In June, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration licensed an immunization for females 9 to 26 years of age which is designed to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases resulting from HPV, including genital warts.
OTCs and Prescription Creams
Over-the-counter and prescription medicated creams are frequently used to treat genital warts. They do not cure them, but they can eliminate them. Since some of these creams have strong chemicals in them, many medical practitioners advise against using them as they have the potential to damage delicate skin in the sensitive genital area.
Cryotherapy with Liquid Nitrogen
Cryotherapy is the use of extreme cold to kill off abnormal growths. Moles, warts, skin tags and other types of skin disorders are often treated this way. A person may acquire the products to perform cryotherapy at home, but since using such products can be very painful and dangerous if used incorrectly, it is advised that a medical professional administer treatment. Liquid nitrogen is the chemical used in this process which is minimally invasive and has relatively few side effects outside of mild skin irritation and scarring. The major concern with this treatment is that healthy areas of skin may be affected by the use of the liquid nitrogen.
Interferon is also used in freezing genital warts. An anti-viral drug, it is injected directly into the warts and it is only used in more severe cases of genital warts. It is more complicated than using liquid nitrogen and must be done by a doctor. It will eliminate the genital warts, but there is no guarantee they will not reappear.
No Cure for HPV, but Help for Warts
There is no cure for HPV, but cryotherapy is proving to be a very effective way of getting rid of genital warts. If the process doesn't work for you ask your doctor for alternative treatments.