Are genital warts serious?

Yes, genital warts are serious and need to be treated. High risk HPV types can cause cancer, such as cervical, penile and anal carcinoma. Genital warts also represent a public health concern. See your doctor ASAP to get them treated!

Genital warts are usually pretty treatable and don't cause major symptoms, but they may become a serious concern in some cases. Sometimes genital warts go away on their own without treatment. In other cases, medications or surgeries may successfully treat genital warts. However, if the infection comes back or if it's long-lasting, the virus that causes genital warts may increase your risk for some types of cancer. Cervical cancer and other types of genital cancers are caused by some types of the human papillomavirus that causes genital warts. Because of this, it's important to talk to your doctor about treatment options so you reduce your risk for developing cancer later in life.

Anna Tarleton Potter
The form of human papillomavirus, or HPV, that causes genital warts is not the same form of the virus that causes cervical cancer. Although obnoxious, genital warts are harmless and treatable; a doctor can freeze them off. However, because genital warts are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, you risk transmitting HPV to your partner if you have them and are sexually active.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.