Man trying to find genital wart treatment online with his laptop

Genital wart treatment online: how it works

Written on March 19, 2023 by Amy Harris, MS, RN, CNM. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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How great would it be to order treatment for your genital warts online without leaving your house? No inconvenient clinic or doctor’s appointment, no embarrassing wait in line at the pharmacy. Unfortunately, genital wart treatment online and virtual healthcare have not yet evolved to that level of convenience. But you can still take steps (from the privacy and comfort of your own home) to learn more about genital warts, treatment options, and screening choices for the virus responsible for genital warts, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) [1].

Who should get treatment for genital warts?

If you are one of the one percent of U.S. adults with genital warts, you probably want to know the fastest way to get rid of them [1]. People with visible genital warts choose treatment for a variety of reasons, including [2,3]:

  • To avoid spreading them to other parts of their body
  • If they are embarrassed or don’t want a visual reminder that they have an STI
  • If their genital warts itch, bleed, or are painful
  • If large rectal warts make having bowel movements difficult or painful
  • If their vaginal or vulvar warts are painful or cause bleeding with sex
  • If they are pregnant

Unfortunately, even if you treat visible warts and they go away, you can still pass the virus that caused your warts (HPV) to your sexual partners [4].

Is it true that genital warts can just go away on their own?

Yes. The good news is that most genital warts will go away on their own if given enough time. Without treatment, about 90% of cases of this sexually transmitted infection will leave the body within two years [1]. Other times, if not treated, genital warts can grow larger or increase in number, so people often seek treatment sooner rather than later.

What are my genital wart treatment options?

If you have visible genital warts, you have several options. There are two home-applied treatment options—the closest you’ll get to online genital wart treatment.

The first, Imiquod (Aldara, Zyclara), is a prescription cream you apply to your genital warts. You will need to see a healthcare provider in person to diagnose your genital warts and then write you a prescription.

Imiquimod cream boosts your immune system's ability to fight genital warts [2]. Imiquimod cream does not cure warts, and new warts may appear during treatment. It is not yet clear whether imiquimod cream prevents the spread of warts to other people [5].

The second option for at-home treatment of genital warts is podofilox (Condylox). This medication, made from a plant-based resin that kills wart tissue, also requires a prescription [2].

Private STD consultations

All of the other treatments for genital warts involve you having a face-to-face appointment with a healthcare provider. Some of the treatments your provider might use are [2,3]:

  1. Podophyllin. This medication contains the same compound as podofilox but is applied by a healthcare provider.
  2. Sinecatechins (Veregen). Healthcare providers treat external genital warts and warts in or around the anal canal with this medication, applied in the office only.

A healthcare provider might recommend other wart-removal treatments such as [2]:

  • Cryotherapy to freeze off the warts
  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to burn off warts
  • Surgically removing warts with a scalpel
  • Laser therapy to vaporize warts
  • Electrocautery to burn off external warts with an electric current

While these treatments may sound scary, they tend to work better, and faster, than some of the at-home, patient-applied treatments [4]. For example, having warts surgically removed may cure the problem in just one visit [2]. Never try using over-the-counter medicines meant for other kinds of warts on genital warts—the medicine is too strong and could injure your sensitive genital skin [3].

How can I tell if I have genital warts?

You can’t always tell if you have genital warts. This is part of the reason why online genital wart treatment (without an in-person physical exam) is not yet a telehealth reality.

Some people can tell that they have genital warts by the way they look—skin-colored or whitish bumps around their vulva, vagina, penis, scrotum, or anus [2]. When several warts grow together, they develop into a whitish, cauliflower-shaped growth. A healthcare provider can usually diagnose genital warts by looking at them [1].

Keep in mind that not all bumps on the genitals are warts. Many other infections and normal skin conditions might look like a wart but are not [2]. If you think you have genital warts, getting checked out by a healthcare provider to confirm your diagnosis and get the most effective treatment is important.

What can I do to avoid getting genital warts in the first place?

As the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world, it can be pretty hard to avoid getting HPV in the first place [6]. Aside from not having sex at all, getting the HPV vaccine is one of the most effective prevention strategies. The CDC recommends that everyone ages 11 to 26 receive the HPV vaccine [7].

Other ways to reduce your risk of getting genital warts are [4]:

  1. Have safer sex using condoms and dental dams—every time, for every kind of sex (anal, vaginal, or oral sex).
  2. Avoid having sex with someone with warts or suspicious bumps on their genitals.
  3. Get tested for STIs regularly.
  4. Don’t have sex when you have visible warts, even with a condom.
  5. Stop smoking. Smokers get warts more often than people who don’t smoke, and warts are more likely to come back if you smoke.

How does virtual healthcare via Everlywell help me to have safer sex?

HPV is so common that, if you are sexually active, there is a pretty good chance that you will have at least one type of HPV in your life [6]. Regular testing for all sexually transmitted diseases keeps you and your partner(s) safe and healthy.

Everlywell’s suite of convenient, discrete, and easy-to-use at-home STI screens for men and women make safer sex even easier. Suppose you have any questions or concerns about HPV or other STIs. In that case, you can schedule an STD telehealth appointment to discuss your STI risk factors, STI testing, and treatment options.

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  1. STD Facts - Human papillomavirus (HPV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Published April 12, 2022. Accessed March 15, 2023.
  2. HPV infection. Mayo Clinic. URL. Published October 12, 2021. Accessed March 13, 2023.
  3. Genital warts. MedlinePlus. Published December 20, 2022. Accessed March 14, 2023.
  4. Genital warts. Planned Parenthood. Accessed March 15, 2023.
  5. Imiquimod topical. MedlinePlus. Published January 15, 2018. Accessed March 14, 2023.
  6. Hathaway JK. HPV: diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2012;55(3):671-680. doi:10.1097/GRF.0b013e31825caa36
  7. HPV vaccines: What everyone should know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published November 16, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2023.
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