Genital Warts: Are They Cause for Concern?

Jocelyn felt a bit itchy “down there.” At times, the area even felt a bit painful. So, like any reasonable woman, she took out her makeup mirror to see if there was anything she might notice. And notice she did: Blackened, circular bumps on her labia. She was shocked – what could this be? Was it an infection? Or worse?

Worried, Jocelyn made an appointment to see her gynecologist. Thankfully, the diagnosis was simply genital warts, which are common, and usually asymptomatic. But as Jocelyn had experienced, they can hurt or be pruritic (itchy).

Cause and Effect

Genital warts can surface in any external or internal area of the genitals, in both men and women. That is to say, the vagina, cervix, penis, or anus. They are caused by the HPV (human papilloma virus). HPV is well known in the media because of its vaccine, which is said to reduce the chance of cervical cancer. However, this virus is usually no cause for concern, and in fact is often present for many years without any effects. More to the point, HPV is irrelevant to genital warts because they are caused by a different type of HPV than is cancer. In other words, while genital warts can be itchy, painful, and aesthetically unpleasant, they are not associated with any health hazard.

HPV is contagious, as are genital warts. Therefore, you can contract the virus and the warts through sexual contact and both partners would need treatment. In addition, since HPV can be present for years without symptoms, genital warts are not an indication of one partner being sexually active outside of the relationship.


In some cases, genital warts simply fall off on their own, so depending on the severity of your case, you might choose to just wait it out. If you prefer not to wait, the solution for warts is to remove them. At Miami Center for Excellence for Obstetrics & Gynecology, we offer the four solutions for genital wart removal, as follows:

  1. Self-applied topical immune response cream. The warts usually take 4-6 weeks to go away.
  2. In-office topical acid. The acid “burns” the wart, which in turn converts to a scab and falls off.
  3. In-office cryotherapy or “freezing”. A similar result to acid, cryotherapy is usually reserved for larger areas. The procedure causes frostbite and the surrounding skin to blister.
  4. Outpatient laser surgery. Reserved for severe cases laser surgery genital wart removal is performed under general anesthesia, and takes a few days of home recovery.

Genital Warts in Pregnancy

Due to hormonal changes, genital warts might surface specifically during pregnancy. Some of the standard treatments for genital wart removal are contraindicated and your gynecologist might recommend waiting until pregnancy is over, both to wait and see if they resolve themselves, or to decide the most appropriate removal solution.

In Conclusion

Thankfully, genital warts are not connected with a medical problem. At the same time, since they can cause pain or itchiness, and can be unsightly, many people wish to have them removed. Speak to your gynecologist at the Miami Center for Excellence for more information.