Can genital warts cause permanent damage?

Genital warts, especially if left untreated can cause permanent damage. The worst outcome is cancer, which can be of the cervix, vagina, penis, and anus. This is one of the most important reasons to treat the lesions.
Most of the time, genital warts go away either on their own or with the right treatment. In some cases, treatment may cause scarring, but that's the only permanent visible effect. However, it's important to remember that even though the warts themselves go away, the virus that causes them may remain in your body. This virus -- called the human papillomavirus (HPV) -- may cause another outbreak of warts. Some types of HPV can increase your risk for certain types of cancer. A doctor should be consulted to rule out this risk.

Continue Learning about Genital Warts

Are genital warts serious?
Gary Goldenberg, MDGary Goldenberg, MD
Yes, genital warts are serious and need to be treated. High risk HPV types can cause cancer, such as...
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When should I call my doctor if I have genital warts?
Genital warts are soft, flesh-colored or pinkish bumps on the genitals. They're caused by a virus, c...
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What should I know about caring for someone with genital warts?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Caring for someone with genital warts may just involve supporting them through their treatment. You ...
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What are genital warts?
Genital warts are warts in the genital area caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is one o...
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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.