Unfortunately, there is no definite answer to this question. For some people, it may take a few months. But for others, it may even last up to a couple of years. The factor that affects the duration of the disease is the treatment.
But do genital warts go away on their own? Yes, it’s possible. However, it may take a long time. Home remedies and medical procedures can speed up the healing.1
To make the whole matter more complicated, genital warts have a high chance of returning. Even if you were able to successfully remove the warts, there’s a possibility that a small amount of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is left on the skin. As time goes by, it multiplies and before you know it, warts are growing again.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there’s a high chance genital warts can recur three months after treatment.2
Extended Cases of Genital Warts May Lead to Complications
Complications are known to arise in the case of genital warts, especially among women. HPV has been strongly linked to cancers of the cervix and the vulva. Infected women may develop throat and anal cancer as well. Men are not spared the cancerous effects of HPV, as they may develop penile, anal or oral cancer.3
Pregnant women who currently have genital warts are advised to seek treatment immediately, because it may cause problems throughout the entire pregnancy. The warts may grow on your urethra and hamper your ability to urinate properly.
Warts on the vaginal wall may affect the vaginal tissue’s ability to stretch during childbirth. The warts may also cause bleeding as the child passes through the birth canal.4
In addition, HPV may transfer to the child. As a result, they may develop warts in the throat after some time. Infants infected with HPV may require special treatment to remove the warts, should this happen.5
Genital Warts Are Highly Contagious
Genital warts are classified as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) because they primarily spread through sexual intercourse. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that genital warts is one of the top STDs in the United States.6
It is recommended that you practice safe sex with your partner to prevent HPV from spreading. One of the most common ways is to use condoms, whether for vaginal, oral or anal intercourse. If you intend to share sex toys, clean them thoroughly before sharing them.7
Test for HPV Regularly to Prevent Any Complications From Developing
Women are highly encouraged to get regular Pap tests to look for HPV in their system. The test involves taking sample cells from your cervix, which are then examined for any abnormal cell changes. At the same time, a doctor may also look for HPV using a separate test. This process is usually called “co-testing,” which can help you rid yourself of HPV and/or spot the early signs of cervical cancer.8