HPV Treatment Options: How Do You Manage This Infection?

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  • Most people who have (or had) HPV do not even know that they are (were) infected, as most HPV strains are typically symptomless, with the exception of those that cause warts
  • While no cure for HPV currently exists, there are ways to manage the symptoms

Most people who have (or had) HPV do not even know that they are or were infected, as most HPV strains are typically symptomless, with the exception of those that cause warts. In 90% of infected people, the virus is cleared naturally by the body, thanks to the immune system.1

Yet, in some cases, HPV may cause warts to form. While most HPV warts are harmless and can be left alone (as they eventually go away), some may lead to distressing symptoms like itching, burning and increased vaginal discharge.2 In this case, you can opt for conventional or holistic strategies to get rid of the warts.

There Is No HPV Cure Available, but You Can Treat the Symptoms

While no cure for HPV currently exists, there are ways to manage the symptoms, namely the appearance of warts. Conventional strategies include:3

Topical medications — Some examples include trichloroacetic acid (TCA) imiquimod, podophyllin and podofilox. These drugs, which are applied directly to the affected areas, are said to bring relief against genital warts, but be careful when using them, as they may trigger side effects that can further aggravate your condition.

Discuss the potential effects of these medications with your physician. There are also contraindications linked to some of these topical remedies. For example, podofilox is not advisable for pregnant women.4

Cryotherapy — This involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze the abnormal cells. Note: Cryotherapy can be performed on both genital warts and on abnormal cells on the cervix that are discovered in a woman during a routine gynecological exam.5

Cone biopsy or conization — It's performed to remove the abnormal areas. This therapy can also be done on the cervix when abnormal cells are discovered there.

Laser therapy — This technique employs laser light to burn away abnormal cells.

Loop electrosurgical excision procedure — Also known as LEEP, this uses an electrical current to remove abnormal cells. As with the other wart therapies, LEEP also may be used on the cervix when a doctor determines that you have a high grade cervical lesion that may lead to cancer.6

In treating warts, take note that the surgical treatments above are usually recommended as a last resort, such as when the warts are already too large or if topical medications no longer work. In the case of cervical dysplasia, your doctor may discuss the choices with you before deciding which procedure is best for you.

Additionally, before resorting to the conventional treatments above, you might also try the holistic remedies below, which may help alleviate warts and clear up the infection:

Tea tree oil  Tea tree oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties that may help eliminate warts.7

Garlic  A study published in Dermatologica Sinica found that applying a 10% garlic extract on genital warts for two months had a similar effect as cryotherapy.8

Green tea extract —  A type of green tea extract called Sinecatechins ointment 10%, which contained catechins, or flavonoids that give green tea its antioxidant effects, was found to be more efficient in eliminating external genital warts (EGWs) compared to topical creams like podophyllotoxin or imiquimod. However, more frequent application may be needed to ensure its efficacy.9

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If You Are HPV Positive but Have No Symptoms, Consult Your Physician

Currently, there is no HPV test for men.10 If you are a woman, to make sure the HPV infection you have is generally low-risk, your physician may advise you to continue with HPV and regular Pap smear tests, even if you have no apparent symptoms.

An HPV test is performed in the same way as a Pap test, wherein swab cells are taken from your cervix and sent to a lab for testing to see if there’s HPV in your body and to find out its type. If the HPV type that you have is high-risk, meaning it may lead to cancer, you may need more frequent Pap tests to monitor if any abnormal changes are occurring in cervical cells.11


HPV: Introduction

What Is HPV?

Oral HPV

How Is HPV Transmitted?

HPV Vaccine

HPV in Men

HPV in Women

HPV Types

HPV Causes

HPV Symptoms

HPV Warts

HPV Treatment

HPV Test

How to Get Rid of HPV

Living with HPV

Does HPV Go Away?

How Do You Get HPV?

Is HPV Curable?

Is HPV Contagious?

How Long Does HPV Last?


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