Genital warts are not uncommon. Here’s a sobering statistic: 50 percent of all sexually active men and women will have genital human papillomavirus (HPV) at some point in their lives. Interestingly, few people show any symptoms of the disease and, in fact, most people’s immune systems take care of the infection before they even realize they have it. However, a few high-risk HPV strains can cause cervical cancers keeping current with your annual Pap smear is the best way to stay ahead of the risk.
And men, you (and your partner) need to get checked for genital warts, which result from the low-risk types of the HPV virus. While they won’t turn into or cause cancer, these cauliflower-looking bumps are highly contagious, so speak up and get treated.
The conventional treatment:?
Docs tend to excise the warts with chemicals, surgery, or by freezing them, but these procedures can be painful and can cause scars.
The natural treatment:
For genital warts, topical vitamin E and garlic oils help heal the skin and fight the virus. Apply, cover, and repeat twice a day for one week or more.
You can diminish outbreaks of all HPV strains by boosting the immune system, according to John Neustadt, ND, medical director of Montana Integrative Medicine in Bozeman. With healthy immune support, the body can often fight off the virus on its own.
If you need more aggressive treatment of external genital warts, you may need to turn to prescription medicine, but some options are more natural than others. Ask your doctor about podofilox (brand name Condylox), derived from mandrake root. This gel kills the infected cells that cause the warts. For stubborn cases, a more potent form of this mandrake derivative, podophyllin resin, can help, but it has to be administered by your doctor. Sinecatechins ointment (branded Veregen) made from an extract of green tea leaves has also shown good results in eliminating external genital warts.
Just to be safe, pregnant women should skip these treatments.