Genital warts are primarily a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Simple preventive methods can help reduce your risk of getting them, such as:
• Using Condoms
Condoms play a crucial role in preventing genital warts. Use one every time you engage in vaginal sex. Should you engage in other forms of sexual contact, such as oral and anal sex, condoms are still recommended because warts can develop in these areas as well.
Condoms will also help reduce your chances of other STDs and unplanned pregnancies.
• Testing for STDs Regularly
Genital warts can appear spontaneously, and the incubation period can take months before symptoms appear. Therefore, it’s important to have yourself tested for STDs regularly to check for the presence of HPV in your system.
It’s better to rid yourself of the virus while it’s in its incubation period. Your partner should get tested regularly as well.2
• Avoid Sharing Sex Toys
Sex toys can carry viruses and bacteria and, if they’re shared, these microbes can spread easily. If you must absolutely share toys, make sure that you wash them thoroughly and cover them with a condom before using.
A Healthy Diet Can Help Prevent Warts
Consuming a healthy balanced diet can help prevent various diseases, and boost your body’s immune system and overall health. Since genital warts are caused by a virus, you should increase your intake of foods known for their antiviral properties, such as:3
• Shiitake mushrooms: A study presented at the 11th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology said that extracts from shiitake mushrooms can help eliminate HPV.
In the study, 10 women with HPV who took shiitake mushroom extracts daily for three months were able to completely rid their body of the virus.4
• Almonds: These nuts are rich in vitamin E, which helps improve overall skin health. Since genital warts are a skin disease, you should consume as much vitamin E from foods as you can, and eating raw organic almonds is a convenient way of doing so. (Taking vitamin E supplements, which can have side effects for some people, is not the same as getting it from foods.)
Make sure that the raw almonds you buy are unpasteurized. Most “raw” almonds sold in the U.S. happen to be pasteurized, which destroys the almond’s nutritional value. Look for vendors that have acquired a waiver from the pasteurization requirement.
• Carrots: They are rich in beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. This compound is known for helping boost your immune system, which can help against HPV. They are also good for your eyesight.
• Dark green leafy vegetables: Kale, collard, spinach and mustard greens contain various antioxidants and B vitamins that can help boost the immune system and help fight viral infections. If you have warts, consuming these vegetables can help minimize cell and tissue damage caused by HPV.
Your Doctor May Recommend an HPV Vaccine, but Consider Your Options First
To prevent HPV warts and cervical cancer, some doctors may recommend taking an HPV vaccine. However, you should consider your options first and educate yourself thoroughly. HPV vaccines may cause serious side effects and may even make you more susceptible to high-risk strains of HPV. Also, it’s important to know that the HPV vaccine won’t cure genital warts if you already have them, and the vaccine will not work, anyway, if you have already been infected with the vaccine-relevant HPVs.