Deep down, you know it’s true:
HPV genital warts can really shatter your confidence into tiny fragments.
While over the counter genital warts treatment is no doubt a feasible option to help recover your self esteem –
Can you really buy these wart removal products at local stores like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart?
Genital Warts Treatment: Over The Counter vs Doctor’s Prescription Only
One of the practical ways of treating genital warts is by applying topical ointment directly to the affected part of the skin.
Some of the products that can be used for the topical treatment of genital warts include:
#1: Imiquimod (Aldara)
In the case of patients who have been diagnosed with genital warts that appear around your genitals and anus, the Aldara cream is a common prescription for this condition.
Aldara cream is classified as an immunomodulator, and the active ingredient in this product is imiquimod. It eliminates genital warts by enhancing your immune systems potency against warts that have appeared around your genital region. Imiquimod stimulates the release of cytokines (chemicals that aid the immune system) by binding the immune cells in your skin.
The cure for warts is successful when the immune cells in the skin eliminate all traces of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus which causes genital warts.
The potency of imiquimod against warts has been researched by scientists in the Medical University of Graz, Austria. It was discovered from the reports that research studies on a sample size of 45 patients who had genital warts revealed effective results when Imiquimod based creams where used for the treatment. It has thus been classified as a safe and reliable treatment for genital warts.
Aldara is only available with doctor’s prescription.
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Genital warts appear on the skin surrounding the genitals and around the anus. Treatment procedures with the Aldara cream are done by applying the cream on blemishes in a thin layer three times every week before bedtime. A regular pattern for the application can be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
It is, however, important to note that the cream should not be used to treat warts inside the vagina or anus. Applying the cream before bedtime is ideal because it should be left on your skin for about six to ten hours (the period you will be asleep), it should then be washed off with a mild soap and water. This therapy should be continued until all the traces of warts have been eliminated. Averagely, this treatment should last for sixteen weeks.
You are advised not to engage in sexual activity after applying this cream because it can compromise the strength of the condom or diaphragm used. Your partners could also suffer some irritation due to contact with the cream.
Side effects are rarely reported by patients who have used the cream, the potential side effects include redness of skin, blisters forming on the skin, aches and pains, cough, rashes, and fatigue.
#2: Podofilox / Podophyllotoxin (Condyline, Wartec, Warticon)
Another useful topical ointment used to treat genital warts is Podofilox, which contains Podophyllin (a resin extracted from plants) as its main ingredient.
Podofilox applied as a lotion or gel eliminates warts by putting a stop to the growth of cells, it is obtained either in gel form 0.5% or as a solution which contains the active ingredient Podophyllin.
Falun Hospital of Sweden revealed the clinical results obtained after using Podophyllotoxin to treat a sample size of sixty women who had genital warts: 82% of the women were reported to have experienced first clearance after the treatment had stopped while the reports indicated a 94% eradication of warts due to the effectiveness of Podophyllotoxin.
Podofilox can be used for genital warts treatment at home, however its usage and application can only be made available with doctor’s prescription.
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Care should be taken during the first application of Podofilox on the areas affected by genital warts. Your doctor might insist on applying the treatment to prevent the areas around the area of your skin affected by warts from becoming irritated.
After application, you should avoid moving around until the solution dries up. This will prevent it from getting in contact with other parts of your skin. Application of Podofilox is usually done with a cotton swab or a finger if the gel is used for your treatment.
After observing the first treatment and application of the gel done by your doctor, you can continue treatment in the same way when you get home. The solution should be applied two times daily for three days. Once this is done, there should be no treatment in the next four days to complete the treatment cycle. This process should be continued for four weeks.
Genital warts have been adequately treated by applying Podofilox either as a lotion or gel. There have been reports of some side effects which include mild skin irritation, sores or pains. Podofilox is designed to be used for only topical applications, and it should not be used by pregnant women.
#3: Salicylic Acid based Genital Wart Remover
Salicylic acid occurs as a colorless crystalline organic acid. It has a bitter taste, and it is found naturally occurring in plants.
Salicylic acids have a keratolytic effect, they cause peeling of the upper skin layers. This may cause mild irritation and a reaction from your immune system when the salicylic acid is used for the treatment of warts caused by HPV.
Salicylic acid has been scientifically proven to be potent against warts. Medical reports published in the British Medical Journals indicate that when salicylic acid was topically used to treat a sample size of 240 patients, it was effective in the elimination of plantar warts. Similar results were obtained during Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen. However, the use of salicylic acid is cheaper, and the treatment results are impressive when compared to treatment with liquid nitrogen.
While there are many Salicylic acid based OTC wart removal products available in the market, it is very important to note that most of them are not formulated for treatment of warts located at sensitive body area like genitals of male and female.
As examples, for salicylic acid based over the counter warts removal removers like Dr. Scholl’s and Compound W and that you can buy at local stores like CVS / Walgreens / Walmart, all these product manufacturer’ instructions clearly state that they are only formulated for warts on hands / foot and must not be used on genital warts around the penis and vagina area.
One OTC genital warts treatment is Warticide – a topical solution that combines salicylic acid and natural ingredients like tea tree oil and cedar leaf Thuja oil to help get rid of genital warts at home with convenient dropper.
#4: Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used as a remedy for the treatment of warts. It is an acid that eliminated warts by burning, cauterizing and eroding the skin. TCA works by removing the proteins within the cells found in genital warts.
The use of TCA for treatment is effective for cases characterized by small, moist lesions. However, TCA, when used as the medium during chemical cautery in a solution of 60% to 90%, can be used to treat genital warts on the vagina and lesions found around the anus.
The American Academy of Family Physicians indicated the safe use of TCA warts treatments for pregnant women; there are no adverse effects as the reactions are limited to only the burning sensation which might be experienced during treatment.
The corrosive effects of TCA on the skin making it a rarely used option for doctors. It is however used in cases where the warts are too hard or in the case of pregnancy. TCA stands out as the only topical treatment for genital warts that can be used to treat pregnant women.
The procedure for treating genital warts with TCA is done by the application of the solution to the outer areas of the vagina where less burning sensations are less likely to be felt, for example, the labia majora. Before the treatment of the inner and more sensitive areas such as the perianal and clitoral areas covered with lesions.
Trichloroacetic Acid solution should be applied to the lesions in layers using a cotton swab. After application, the affected areas should be left to dry; white frosty coating will form over the areas when dried. To prevent skin irritations, accidental contact of TCA with other parts of your skin should be immediately washed off using a mild soap and water or sodium bicarbonate.
Common side effects associated with TCA treatment of warts include skin irritation, ulceration, and scarring. The burning sensations experienced during treatment may last upto 10 minutes.
#5: OTC Genital Wart Removers made of Natural Ingredients
Lastly, while there are many wart removal products made of natural ingredients that are available for sale over the counter, it is very important that you read the manufacturer’s instruction clearly to be sure that the product that you are looking at is really formulated for genital warts treatment.