Types of Genital Warts

Dr Kathryn Basford

Medically reviewed by

Dr Kathryn Basford

Last reviewed: 09 May 2019

Which different types of warts are there?

Contents
Black woman sat at home exploring the internet on her phone for types of genital warts

Key takeaways

  • There are more than a hundred different strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), only a couple of which are responsible for most types of genital warts

  • The different forms of genital warts which affect women can appear in or around the vagina, vulva, anus or near the neck of the womb

  • In men, genital warts are not as common as in women. They often appear on the tip of the penis but they can also appear around the anus

  • Most types of warts can be treated with creams such as Condyline and Aldara

There are different types of genital warts. Which treatment you require depends on the size and type of warts you have.

These different types are caused by the same virus – the HPV virus – and are also known as "condyloma" or "penile/venereal warts".

They look like skin-coloured growths located in or around the genital and anal areas.

Most types of genital warts are painless and tend to appear in clusters. If you suffer from such warts, you should get treated before having sex again as they are highly contagious.

Request genital warts treatment
Start Free Assessment

Different types of warts and their treatment

Genital warts are usually soft and moist and tend to appear in groups of three to four. Note that this differs between patients and that some people will only have one or two warts while others may develop a large number of individual growths.

When warts go unnoticed, they can grow and form small cauliflower-shaped clusters that are flesh-coloured.

HPV and types of warts

There are more than a hundred different strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), only a couple of which are responsible for most types of genital warts (as well as anal warts). The majority of genital warts are caused by HPV types 6 and 11. These warts will usually grow for 6 months, after which they tend to stop growing. Other strains of HPV can cause warts on your feet or hands, which are less contagious than genital warts.

Itchy or bleeding sores?

You might read that genital warts can cause "mild pain" and that they may feel itchy or bleed. In fact, this only happens in rare cases, when warts reach a considerable size and/or if you scratch them off. If you think you have a wart, avoid any scratching (to avoid bleeding), and consult your doctor instead.

Genital warts in women

The different forms of genital warts that affect women can appear in or around the vagina, vulva, anus or near the neck of the womb. Often, the warts are too small for you to see or notice. Warts inside the vagina or anus can cause discomfort, but they may not cause any symptoms.

Genital warts in men

In men, genital warts are not as common as in women. They often appear on the tip of the penis, but they can also appear around the anus, especially when the virus is transmitted during anal sex. Most types of warts will appear between one to three months after infection.

If you think you are infected, you should get examined to avoid complications and prevent you from transmitting the infection to future partners. In about half of all cases, genital warts appear on the shaft of the penis, usually just below the foreskin.

Different types, different treatments

Some types of genital warts – usually the smaller ones – are easier to treat than others. Similarly, warts growing on moist skin tend to respond better to treatment than those located on dry skin. Most types of warts can be treated with creams such as Condyline, Warticon, and Aldara.

But if the warts are very large, if you have a lot of them, or if they’re not getting better with these creams, you might need to see a dermatologist and think about other treatment options. These could include surgically removing them, using cryosurgery (freezing off warts with liquid nitrogen) or laser treatment.

Diagnosing genital warts

Genital warts are usually diagnosed based on how they look. A doctor can examine you to look at any lumps or bumps you’re worried about. Since warts can grow on the cervix or in the vagina, a doctor can look at these using a speculum tool.

If you're worried that you might have symptoms of genital warts, it’s important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible so you can start treatment.

About warts and cancer

The types of HPV that cause warts are not the same types that cause cancer. The high-risk types of HPV which are linked with cervical cancer do not cause warts.

It’s important for all women to keep up to date with their regular smear tests.

Genital warts and pregnancy

Genital warts can cause problems during birth if they become very large. If you think you have genital warts and you’re pregnant, you should speak to your GP or midwife.

Not all types of wart treatment are safe to use in pregnancy, so it’s important to speak to a doctor about what treatment you should use.

Request genital warts treatment
Start Free Assessment
dr-kathryn-basford.png
Medically reviewed by:
Dr Kathryn Basford

Dr Kathryn Basford is an IMC and GMC registered GP who works with our Irish team here at ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training at Whipps Cross Hospital in London.

Meet our doctors

Last reviewed: 09 May 2019


Genital Warts Treatment

When you get an outbreak of genital warts, you can treat them with topical gels and creams. ZAVA offers a variety of these creams and gels through a discreet, convenient service.




Customer reviews
trustpilot-ratings-4-halfstar (1794)
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Miss Nimmock, 23 Jul 2021
Very good Doctors, you can chat to via your login, fast delivery, excellent service. Would reccomend .
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Eva, 03 Jul 2021
Great service for Fit to Fly PCR test - dropped off at 08:30am on the Friday and received results 26 hours later on Saturday morning (10:15). Would really recommend for anyone going abroad - especially Spain because of the testing requirements.
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Sarah Longley, 02 Apr 2021
Arrived really quickly and was good costumer service :)
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Mary, 19 Apr 2021
Always an efficient and professional service.
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Ms Debbie Wylde, Fintan the dog and Tinks the cat, 25 Jul 2021
From initial phone call to receiving pcr kit Zava were top efficient pleasant and extremely helpful. Put test in at 3pm on Friday to Superdrug and got negative results back by 9 am next morning. Thank goodness we can travel to Dublin to see family. It was reassuring to speak to someone at end of phone with several questions that were answered. Highly recommend and if flying from Bristol discounted. Thanks zava Debbie Bath


Related products

Authorised and regulated by