Understanding Genital Warts in Men: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Dinesh Patel
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Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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genital warts men

Genital Warts or penile warts are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-6 and HPV-11. 

While they might be bothersome, it’s crucial to understand that they are treatable and typically not considered dangerous. 

According to WHO, one in three men worldwide are infected with genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV). 

The “low-risk” HPV strains can lead to the formation of warts on various parts of the genital region in men, such as rectum, anus, penis, or scrotum. 

This article will examine the causes, symptoms, and treatment methods of Genital Warts in men. 

Causes of Genital Warts

Transmission of Genital Warts primarily occurs through skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual, notably during vaginal, anal, or oral sexual activities. 

Importantly, Genital Warts can be transmitted even without ejaculation, and penetration is not a requisite for transmission. 

Furthermore, transmission might occur without visible warts or noticeable symptoms, though it is less common. 

Genital warts are not transmitted through kissing or by sharing personal items like towels, cutlery, cups, or toilet seats.

Symptoms of Genital Warts in men

Genital Warts may present in men with various symptoms, and sometimes they manifest without any noticeable signs. 

The symptoms of Genital Warts include:

  • Bumps or lesions: Small, raised, or flat growths that may appear individually or in clusters on the penis, scrotum, or around the anus. These can vary in size from very small to larger formations
  • Color and texture: They typically appear flesh-colored, pink, red, brown, or darker. Texture-wise, they might be smooth or have a rough, bumpy surface resembling cauliflower
  • Location: Genital Warts can occur on the tip or shaft of the penis, around the scrotum or near the anal region
  • Sensations: Usually, genital warts are painless, but they might cause itching or discomfort in some cases
Genital Warts, if left untreated, can become large, leading to bleeding and itching. In rare cases, this can lead to cancer.  

When do Genital Warts develop

Genital Warts don’t have a specific timeline for development after exposure. 

They might take a considerable amount of time to become visible after exposure to the HPV virus. 

This delay can range from 6 weeks to 6 months or years, making it difficult to determine the exact timing of infection.

Some individuals may carry the HPV virus without ever developing visible warts. 

While some people might experience Genital Warts once and never again, others might have recurring episodes. 

Treatment options for Genital Warts in men

Radiofrequency surgerySource: Lais_Schulz_from_Lais_Schulz
Surgery for warts

Genital Warts can go away in 1 or 2 years without any treatment. Still, treatment can help manage symptoms and lower the discomfort. 

Here are the treatment methods available:

  • Topical chemicals: Application of chemicals directly onto warts, usually done weekly for a few weeks
  • Prescribed creams: Usage of prescribed creams such as Imiquimod topical applied by the patient at home over several weeks
  • Cryotherapy: Freezing warts off using liquid nitrogen
  • Electrocautery: Burning off warts with an electric current
  • Surgical removal: Using a knife or wire with electricity (LEEP) to cut or remove warts
Recommended Article
To know about the treatment of Genital Warts in detail, read Treatment for Genital Warts: Managing the Infection Effectively

Post-treatment care

Genital Warts can be treated but not fully cured. Removing the warts doesn’t eliminate the HPV virus causing them.

The virus might clear on its own, but it’s unpredictable. Some may experience recurrence, while others won’t.

To prevent getting any more Genital Warts, you should:

  • Hygiene: Keep the treated area clean, avoid scratching it, and wash hands thoroughly after touching the affected area
  • Sexual activity: Avoid sexual activity if it causes discomfort or until the area has healed
  • Pain management: Use cold packs or over-the-counter pain medication for relief if the area is painful or swollen
  • Follow-up and recurrence: Continue regular check-ups with your healthcare provider after treatment. If the Genital Warts come back, consult with your nurse or doctor for further treatment options

Preventive methods for Genital Warts

Prevention methods for Genital Warts in men are similar to those for anyone at risk. 

Here are specific steps men can take to prevent the acquisition and spread of Genital Warts:

HPV vaccination

Speak with a healthcare professional about receiving the HPV vaccine. 

Most vaccines protect against the strains of HPV responsible for causing Genital Warts. 

Vaccination is typically recommended for young adults and teenagers but can benefit individuals up to age 45.

Practice safe sex

Use condoms consistently and correctly during any sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. 

While condoms cannot fully eliminate the risk of HPV transmission, they can significantly reduce the chances of contracting or spreading Genital Warts.

Avoid sex during visible warts

Refrain from engaging in sexual activities when Genital Warts are visible to minimize the risk of transmission, even with condom use.

Quit smoking

smoking is a lifestyle factor that can cause diseaseSource: Kubra_Cavus_from_Getty_Images
Avoid smoking

Studies suggest a correlation between smoking and an increased risk of developing Genital Warts. 

Quitting smoking may lower the risk of both acquiring and recurring Genital Warts.


Genital Warts in men are caused by a virus called HPV. These warts can show up on the penis, scrotum, anus, or other areas.

You can contract Genital Warts through skin-to-skin contact during sex. Importantly, you don’t need to have ejaculation or penetration for the virus to spread. 

The warts can look like small bumps or lesions, have a flesh-colored or slightly darker hue, and feel smooth or rough.

Treatment options include applying chemicals, using prescribed creams, freezing the warts, burning them off, or surgical removal. 

To prevent more warts, consider getting the HPV vaccine, use condoms, limit sexual partners, avoid sex when warts are visible, and quit smoking.

Being aware, taking preventive steps, and seeking treatment when needed can help manage Genital Warts in men and contribute to overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do men get Genital Warts?

Genital Warts in men are primarily caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is usually transmitted during sexual activities, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It’s important to note that ejaculation or penetration is not necessary for transmission. The virus can spread even when there are no noticeable symptoms.

Are male Genital Warts harmful?

Generally, male Genital Warts are not considered harmful in the sense of being life-threatening. They are, however, bothersome and can cause discomfort, itching, or pain. The emotional and mental impact of having Genital Warts should also be considered. 

Is it good to remove Genital Warts?

Yes, removing Genital Warts is often recommended. While the warts may not be harmful, their removal can help manage symptoms and reduce discomfort. Additionally, treating the visible warts does not eliminate the underlying HPV infection. Still, it can lower the risk of spreading the virus to sexual partners. 

How long do Genital Warts last in men?

The duration of Genital Warts in men can vary. Sometimes, the warts may go away on their own within 1 or 2 years. However, the timeline for the development of visible warts after exposure to the HPV virus is unpredictable. It ranges from weeks to months or even years. 

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