Genital Warts – Treatment in NYC for Men and Women
We offer comprehensive testing, treatment, and prevention of STDs diseases in men including genital warts. All care provided meets and exceeds with the latest national guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We treat everyone with the same respectful and confidential approach. We are sensitive to the various and diverse needs of our patients.
Genital Warts: What You Need to Know
What are Genital Warts?
Genital warts are painless growths in the skin of the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, anus, and scrotum.
Genital warts are skin-colored, soft, fleshy bumps that look like mini cauliflowers. They can be big or small, flat or raised, bumpy or smooth. You can have one wart or many of them. They sometimes cause discomfort, discharge, itching, or irritation. People with genital warts can pass them on to others through intimate skin contact. Usually, experienced urologists at New York Urology Specialists can diagnose genital warts by visual inspection. Sometimes, especially when the warts are small it may be difficult to distinguish from other conditions and a biopsy is recommended.
In females, genital warts can be present inside the vagina and on the external genitalia (vulva, cervix, groin). In males, genital warts can appear on the penis and on the external genitalia (thighs, groin, scrotum). In both men and women, genital warts can be present in or near the anal canal. Very rarely, lesions may be present on the lips, tongue, mouth, or throat.
Urethral warts are also caused by HPV virus and are more difficult to treat. At New York Urology Specialists, our urologists have extensive experience treating urethral warts in men and women.
What Causes Genital Warts?
Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) cause genital warts. You can get genital warts through sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral) with someone who has an HPV infection even though that person does not have any visible warts. Genital warts are highly infectious. If your sexual partner has genital warts, your risk of developing warts is high.
The most common strains of HPV virus that cause genital warts are HPV-6 and HPV-11. The vast majority of sexually active individuals get infected with at least one strain of HPV virus at some point in their life. But, not everyone with an HPV infection develops genital warts.
The time between infection and appearance of genital warts varies from 2 weeks to 8 months (link). In most people, genital warts become evident 2-3 months after the person is infected with a low-risk wart-causing strain of the HPV virus.
What Are the Risk Factors for Genital Warts?
- Women have a somewhat higher chance of developing genital warts than men.
- Unprotected sex with multiple partners increases the risk of becoming infected with the HPV virus.
- Sex with partners who have an unknown sexual history increases your risk.
- The presence of other sexually transmitted infections is a risk factor for genital warts.
- People who become sexually active at a young age are at increased risk of genital warts.
How are Genital Warts Transmitted?
Genital warts spread most commonly during vaginal and anal sex. They may also be transmitted without penetration by close genital contact. Less often, they may be transmitted through oral sex or during childbirth from an infected mother to her baby. Genital warts are highly contagious. Touching each other’s genital areas infected with HPV may lead to transmission from you to your partner or vice versa.
Finding out who gave you genital warts and when exactly you got infected is complicated. The virus can live in the body for months before genital warts show up. Some people are infected with HPV but never get warts. Some people get warts only once. Some people get recurrent warts.
Can I Get Genital Warts from Contact with My Partner’s Plantar Wart?
Genital warts are caused by strains of the HPV virus that are different from virus strains that cause plantar warts on the feet. You cannot get a genital wart from touching your own or your partner’s genital areas with a wart on the hand or foot. HPV virus types that cause genital warts do not usually cause plantar warts; conversely, HPV virus types that cause plantar warts do not cause genital warts.
HPV Vaccination to Prevent Genital Warts
You can reduce the risk of HPV infection by getting vaccinated with the HPV vaccine called Gardasil-9. At New York Urology Specialists, Gardasil-9 is recommended to people between the ages of 12 and 45 years old. The vaccine is most effective when it is given long before a person becomes sexually active.
Men and women older than 45 can also get Gardasil-9 HPV Vaccine. HPV vaccination may also reduce the risk of genital wart recurrence.
HPV Vaccination in Men and Women Over Age 45
However, the vaccine may have benefit in older men and women over age 45 who have had a limited number of sexual partners. Age is a proxy for the number of sexual partners. Gardasil-9 is most effective in people who have not yet become sexually active or have had only a few sexual partners. However, it may also reduce the risk of genital warts and precancerous changes in older men and women with multiple sexual partners.
Studies corroborate the link between vaccine effectiveness and the number of sexual partners. The prevalence of both high-risk and low-risk HPV strains is reduced in men and women who are vaccinated with Gardasil-9. The results are better in teenagers (ages 14-19) compared to older individuals (ages 20-24). The vaccine is highly effective in reducing the risk of genital warts and precancerous lesions. Talk to an experienced doctor at New York Urology Specialists to find out whether you are eligible for Gardasil-9. Gardasil HPV vaccination decreases the risk of CIN in women.
Can HPV vaccine (Gardasil-9) be Given to Men and Women Who Had HPV Before?
Studies show that the HPV vaccine is also effective in preventing recurrent precancerous lesions in patients who had prior HPV infection. It is very likely that the HPV vaccine may also decrease the recurrence rate of genital warts (penile warts and scrotal warts) in men and vaginal warts as well as labial HPV genital warts in women.
At New York Urology Specialists, we offer Gardasil-9 for men and women with a history of HPV as an option to decrease frequency and chances of recurrence. Contact us to schedule an appointment.
Treatment of Genital Warts
Consult an experienced doctor at New York Urology Specialists to discuss treatment for genital warts and the need to evaluate your sexual partner. A number of treatment options for genital warts in men and women are available, including creams and surgical genital wart removal. Remember, genital warts are not the same as warts on the hands and feet. Do not self-treat genital warts with over-the-counter wart removal treatments. Talk to our specialists about the most effective treatment for genital warts.
Genital Warts and Your Sexual Partners
In addition to genital warts, certain strains of high-risk HPV virus predispose to cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men, among others. If you have a genital wart, removal of the lesion can decrease the chances that you infect your partners.
There is an HPV vaccine available (Gardasil-9) which decreases the risk of HPV infection. Considering HPV vaccination may be a good option for sexual partners of infected people. Vaccines work best before becoming sexually active with infected partners. The vaccine also reduces the chances of developing pre-malignant changes. The possible benefit of both partners getting vaccinated is that it decreases the risk of HPV wart recurrence and decreases the risk of pre-cancerous lesions in both you and your partner.
Is HPV Curable? Do I Need Treatment for Genital Warts?
HPV is not curable, but it is preventable. The HPV vaccine reduces the risk of infection. Regular Pap smears and HPV testing can help with early detection of abnormal changes. If precancerous changes are detected on Pap testing, further tests and treatments are available (colposcopy, cryotherapy, LEEP).
Although they have an unsightly appearance, genital warts are not life-threatening. However, they do predispose your sexual partner(s) to a risk of HPV infection. If you have one or more genital warts, they could potentially grow to a large size and cause significant problems. It is simpler and easier to treat genital warts when they are small. Discuss treatment options for your genital warts with our specialists today before they cause complications.
Your doctor will decide whether you need treatment for genital warts. Warts may go away within a couple of years without treatment if your body’s immune system is strong enough. On the other hand, they may continue to grow and “seed” other warts nearby, increasing in size and number. Genital warts are highly infectious and the chances of you giving HPV infection to your sexual partner is high, especially if you have visible warts.
When Should HPV Warts be Treated?
It is usually advisable to treat genital warts when they are small. If you have uncomfortable symptoms, or the appearance of warts bothers you, or the warts are growing in size and number, wart removal is a reasonable option. If you are sexually active, the presence of visible warts increases the risk of passing the infection to your partner(s) and you. Treatment for genital warts reduces the chances of transmission to a sexual partner. Wart removal is recommended in pregnant women to avoid problems during delivery. HPV vaccination with Gardasil-9 of new sexual partners can prevent HPV transmission to your partner.
Scheduling Appointments for Treatment of Genital Warts and STD Testing at New York Urology Specialists
We offer affordable, highest-quality urology care with or without insurance. Find out our office hours or directions to our office. We offer weekday, weekend and evening office hours.
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a board-certified urologist, who specializes in all aspects of care for sexual problems in men and women including testing and treatment for STDs, genital warts, HPV vaccination as well as treatment of sexual problems including ED, premature ejaculation and other sexual concerns.
Genital Warts are Treatable in Every Man and Woman
At New York Urology Specialists, our urologists are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI). We understand the challenges that STDs such as chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and ureaplasma create for our patients, their relationships, and their self-esteem. We help you find an effective treatment for your symptoms that may be caused by STD, UTI or another cause.
Urologists are doctors specializing in the treatment of infections in men and women caused by sexually transmitted diseases as well as bladder infections (UTI). By the virtue of our experience and skill, we are able to offer an effective treatment option for nearly every man and women with urinary problems and bladder control problems.
We treat some of the most complex STD problems including:
- Persistent urinary urgency
- Frequent recurrence of genital warts
- Frequent recurrence of herpes outbreaks
- HIV prevention
- Genital warts in the urethra
- Treatment of infections when antibiotics do not work well
- Testing for urinary ureaplasma and mycoplasma.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Shteynshlyuger:
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a fellowship trained board-certified urologist with expertise in evaluation and treatment of urological problems in men and women using modern effective and proven treatment methods. He is highly recommended by top primary care physicians in the New York area. If you or someone you know has been experiencing urological symptoms, make an appointment to take advantage of Dr. Shteynshlyuger’s expert advice. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.