Genital Warts (Human Papilloma Virus)

Genital warts appear on the skin anywhere in the genital area as white or flesh-coloured, smooth, small bumps, or larger, fleshy, cauliflower-like lumps.

They are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), a diverse group of viruses which variously infect the skin and mucous membranes of the body. While the majority of the over 200 subtypes do not cause clinically significant disease, about 30 of them infect the genital area. Of these, a few cause warts and in some cases can lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, anus and penis.

How do I get the disease?

The HPV virus that causes warts are transmitted through genital skin contact, or through transfer of genital fluids. You do not need penetrative sexual contact to acquire the infection. Condoms and other barrier methods provide only limited protection against HPV. In rare cases, there can be transmission through childbirth.

Click here to learn about Warts

How do I know I am infected for HPV? How can it be detected?

Generally, HPV viruses as a group do not cause symptoms and the majority are unaware that they are infected with HPV. Nevertheless, a small group present with genital warts which are small bumps or larger fleshy, cauliflower-like lumps on the skin or mucous membranes in the genital area. They usually appear about 1 to 3 months after initial infection.

The most severe disease that HPV can cause is cervix cancer and hence, women are advised to go for pap smears with their doctors regularly.

There is also HPV testing for men. 

For MSM, it is recommended that they do the Anal Pap as well.

Click here to learn more about Peri-Anal Warts

How can HPV be treated?

There is no specific treatment for HPV as the infection is usually self limiting. In general, the body’s immunity usually clears the infection after some time. Notwithstanding, some people have lingering infection, especially in people who’s immunity is impaired, e.g. due to concurrent infection with HIV.

For genital warts that HPV causes, treatment depends on how severe and extensive the warts are.

The most common and effective treaments are:

  • Creams and paint ons
  • Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen which “freezes” the wart and destroys them.
  • Electrocautery/surgical excision removes the wart surgically.

The majority of genital warts recur even after adequate treatment and repeat treatments may be needed to completely eradicate the problem.

All our Doctors are trained and certified in the treatment of Warts and HPV vaccination.

Feel free to visit our clinics anytime if you think you are suffering from Genital Warts.

Click Here for Contact Details, Address and Opening Times.

HPV and Cervical cancer

High risk HPV viruses (especially types 16 and 18) can induce changes in the cervical cells and this can lead to cancer of the cervix. This is why all sexually active women are advised to get themselves screened for HPV and also to go for a regular Pap smear test.

Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It involves opening the vagina to take a small sample of cells from the cervix (opening of the uterus/womb) with a swab and examining those cells under a microscope. If there are any abnormal changes in these cells, the patient will be referred for further examination and treatment to eradicate the problem.

These high risk subtypes of HPV also cause changes in the anal/rectal mucosa that predisposes men and women who engage in anal intercourse to cancer. In these men or women, Anal Pap, which is available in certain clinics including clinics under the Robertson Medical Group (link) is available as a screening test.

Prevention of HPV, Cervical Cancer and Genital Warts

Theare are currently 2 vaccines available in Singapore to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts caused by the major high risk subtypes of HPV. The first to be approved is Gardasil which protects against 4 high risk subtypes and is effective for genital warts and cervical cancer prevention.

Click here for more details on the Gardasil Vaccine for Warts and Cancer

The other vaccine, Cervarix protects against the 2 high risk subtypes which cause cervical cancer.

It is however, not used for prevention against genital warts.

Click here to see the full range of our HIV/STD Services

All Our Doctors are Fully Certified and Trained to conduct specialised STD and HIV Testing.

advise


Need more advice?

Come down to Our Clinics for a discussion with Our Doctors, or call our clinics for more information:

1.) Robertson Walk (+65 6238 7810)

2.) Bencoolen Street (+65 6884 4119)

3.) Novena Medical Centre (+65 6397 2095)

4.) Scotts Medical Centre (+65 6694 2348)

5.) Somerset – Orchard Building (+65 6262 0762)

6.) Katong – East Coast Road (+65 6635 2551)

Where to find us – here

Click Here for Contact Details, Address and Opening Times.

Selected clinics are open on Saturday and Sunday.

Doctor’s Schedule here

Email: doctor@drtanandpartners.com

For lady patients who prefer female doctors, we have professional certified female Doctors to attend to your medical needs.


If you have any questions, visit our free online forum on sexual health, HIV and STDs.

More on HIV symptoms.

If you need a HIV test visit Our Clinics anytime during our opening hours. You do not need an appointment.

Find out more about Anonymous HIV testing at our clinics.

Can’t wait for 3 months to find out? Find out more about Anonymous Rapid HIV Combo test at our clinics.


Our Andrology and Infection Centre at Novena Medical Center is open.

Call us at 63972095 now to book your treatment.

If you think you have warts or wish to learn more, please visit Our Clinics.

For Women Patients, we have Lady Doctors to assist you.

We are Open on Weekends.


Related Topics:
Common Lumps and Bumps – Warts
Peri-Anal Warts
More on HIV symptoms
Cost of HIV/STD Tests at our Clinic
STD General Info
Molluscum Contagiosum

About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

Find the profiles of our panel of doctors.

44 Comments

  1. Hi i’ve been having urethral wart at the tip of my urethra for some time now. Its stagnant and not grow in size. No pain during urination just some itch from time to time. Will it go away naturally? Or surgery is needed. If so how will the surgery be perform? Are there any alternatives besides surgery?

  2. Hi doctor, I have previously asked about hpv but it wasn’t answer. I would like to ask … does the comprehensive test for women include test for hpv? Does it also test for hiv too? When can I test to confirm that I don’t have hpv? Thank you.

  3. Hello Dr. Tan.
    I am HIV negative MSM who practiced unprotected receptive anal sex in the recent past. Sometimes I’m afraid to have contracted HPV (not the one that causes warts, the one that causes cancer). Sometimes I have pain when defecating. I’ve visited a proctologist regularly, once he did anuscopy and a finger test, maybe if there was HPV of some sort he would’ve noticed it. Can I be sure that I don’t have this?

    • The other HPVs (not 6 or 11) do not usually cause warts, therefore your doctor would not have noticed anything. If you are concerned, you get do an anal swab for HPV.

  4. Andrew

    Hello Dr. Tan,

    A few months ago i found that I have HPV flat wart on the tip of my penis. I went for a treatment at DSC clinic, they tried to freeze the warts but it didn’t actually work. Then they tried to burn them with some other medicine. I got very painful wounds because of this and at the end I ended up having even more warts. I’ll probably need some other kind of treatment with a cream or something, I don’t know but I feel tired of fighting this virus.

    Where can I find you for consultation?

    Best Regards

    • drtan

      Hi Andrew. You are free to visit any of our clinics. All our doctors are trained in the treatment of HPV warts. We have 4 locations: Robertson Walk, Bencoolen, Novena and Scotts. Click HERE for location info. You can also click HERE to send us an email on our contact form and we will contact you immediately to set up an appointment.

  5. worried girl

    Hi Doc,

    i noticed a wart(?) on the outside of my vagina ytd and also theres a hair underneath it. could it be HPV? it doesnt hurt or burn or anything. should i wait a few days to see if it will go away and is it possible its actually nothing? what should i do?

    thankyou.

    • Hi, if it is a wart, it will be caused by HPV. Usually warts do not cause any symptoms, occasionally some itch. You can observe it for a few days, otherwise its best to see a doctor or visit our clinics and we can have a look at it. If it is a wart, there are various treatment options we can provide after assessing the lesion.

    • Dr Elaine Loh

      it could be folliculitis, but it is difficult to diagnose without seeing the actual lesion. You can visit us http://www.drtanandpartners.com/where-to-find-us/
      http://www.drtanandpartners.com/vaginal-lumps-and-bumps/

      • worried gal

        hi doc.
        its been a few days and the wart thingy is nearly gone? i kinda burst it since the day i found it and now its as good as gone. what should i do now?

        • Dr Justin Sim

          If it was a true wart then it shouldn’t really burst – maybe it was a blister of some sort – but if it has gone then that is good. Just continue to monitor the situation and if it returns then get it checked out.

  6. Hi doctor
    I have a few warts at the bottom of my vagina opening down till my ass. I was very upset and went to put teatree oil as suggested by many people because I’m having my menses now and I do not know if I am able to see a doctor now. I don’t know if it will harm the skin around my vagina but it stink a little. As well as I have nappy rash from wearing too long hours of pad for my menses now will the warts harm the nappy rash ? If possible can I book appointment and see you even if I’m having menses?

    • Dr Elaine Loh

      best if you can come in when your period is lighter or when period has stopped. Otherwise it will be difficult for us to visualize and manage the removal.
      In the meantime, stop applying the tea tree oil as they will not help with the warts.
      You can give Robertson or Bencoolen clinic a call before coming. If you prefer a female doctor, I will be in Robertson this week.

  7. I am diagnosed with high risk hpv and I found alot of conflicting info online. Can hpv really clear on its own as long as I have good immune system?

    I searched that high risk hpv doesn’t cause genital warts but recently I found a few growth but have yet to see doctor for the growth. Can genital warts clear on its own too after hpv is cleared? Or will it keep growing alot more?

    • Very good question. The figure I often quote to my patients is 80% of patients will clear HPV in 2 years. So HPV can clear on its own. A good immune system obviously helps. As for Warts, if they remain small there is a chance they also clear on their own. More often than not, they have to be treated / removed.

      • Thank you for your prompt reply.

        So if the warts will still return as long as hpv still exists, does it make sense that I should only start removing or treating it after I’ve confirmed my hpv is cleared? The itchiness is bearable and don’t pose a huge problem currently.

        Another issue I’m worried about is because mine is high risk hpv which could lead to cancer, am I immune to this particular type of hpv after I’m cleared of this? I’ve gotten gardasil vaccine too. Will the chances of recurring reduce in the future?

        • You should treat the warts now. 3 reasons. 1. It could get a lot worse. Like a whole forest of warts. Which will then make it very traumatic to treat. 2. It is much more contagious. 3. It serves as a reservoir for the HPV virus making eradication more difficult. Assuming the type you have will be cleared and is covered by Gardasil, then yes, you will be immune to it after it has been cleared.

      • Hi doctor tan . I was diagnosed with genital warts last year and got them freezed . I have never had any outbreaks from the moment it vanished. I have normal pap smear, however im still worried wether i still have the virus and do i have high risk hpv that will cause cervical cancer . I read a lot from the internet … Some say that hpv strains that cause genital warts are different from those who are causing cancer .and some say that some high risk hpv ( strain 45 ) cause both cancer and genital warts . Do i need to take hpv dna test just to make sure i have cleared the infection and i dont have the cancer causing strains . I am bellow 30 anyway . Thank you

  8. Scared

    Hi doctor Tan.
    I noticed some warts on my vulva. Just above the anus. It was very itchy and sometimes there is blood when i rubbed it. And now it started to itch all the way up to my inner and outer lips of my vagina. It is very itchy at night that it disrupts my sleeping patterns. I kind of scared to go to the doctor and I think it’s a vaginal warts coz of the symptoms. Please advice me on how to stop this itchiness and is there a home remedies for this?

    • Dear Scared,

      Its hard to tell if your symptoms are truly from warts or other lesions without taking a look at them. Although it is entirely possible your symptoms may be due from warts, most of the time warts tend not to cause any symptoms.

      If you are concerned about itching, you may want to try a warm towel compress over the affected region or a hot bath. Both of these tend to reduce symptoms of itch.

      However, it’d be for the best for you to see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis as well as to get recommendations as to how to remove them. I understand that some may be reserved to speak to a doctor about such issues. However, as a general rule doctors understand your worries and we’ll do our best to make sure you get treated with dignity and respect.

      • Scared

        Thnx Dr. Prem Kumar.
        I am thinking of going to your clinic for the consultation. May I know how much is it for the first visit?
        I also read that topical cream helps lessen the itching. Just wondering if I can get that also together with my first visit? And how much does it cost?

        • HI Scared,

          Our consultation charges start from $35. We’ll definitely be able to give you something to help your symptoms; however I won’t be able to advise on the price as without having a review we’ll have no idea what to use.

  9. Concerned ad

    If I recovered from my warts, can my partner safely perform oral sex on me?

    • Hi Concerned,

      As stated before, even after warts treatment is done there is a small chance that the HPV virus can remain in the cells in an inactive state. Any skin to skin contact, including oral sex can possibly transmit the HPV and possibly cause warts. It may be advisable to use a condom to minimise risk. You should also consider getting your partner to get vaccinated against HPV. Check our post regarding the quadrivalent vaccine for more information.

  10. Hi doctor,

    Do u do testing for hpv in the mouth?
    I understand that hpv can cause throat n oral cancer..
    If u do not do testing for hpv in the mouth, is there any where in singapore that does??

    I m quite worried because my pap smear had shown the existence of hpv 16 virus

    I had oral sex before.. and i m sure my last partner i was with, would also be infected with the virus.
    What can i even do with a situation like that..
    They detect hpv through pap smears.. but dont seem to promote hpv screening for oral and anal areas..

    I m really very worried dr tan..
    Could u give me some advice??

  11. Which specialist is the best to seek for doctor consultation for genital warts?

    • See your GP first. If he cannot handle it he will refer you to the appropriate specialist.

  12. hi Dr Tan,

    is it possible to get HPV in the throat by having oral sex?
    and can HPV by kissing cause RRP?
    I have a sore throat for a month after kissing my partner who have been treated for chymydia 3 months back and has HPV. what is the possibility that the sore throat is cause by STD?
    please reply

  13. Hi Dr tan,
    can HVP or chyamydia be contracted by extensive kissing?
    will it cause sore throat like symptoms?

  14. Hi Doctor,

    I am a MSM (receptive). Can I know if it is necessary to do an anal pap in addition to the blood test? Is there anything that the anal pap can detect that the blood test can’t? Please advise, thanks.

  15. Thanks Doc.

    The specialist did mention its a wart but he mentioned that it’s non-viral but subjected to further diagnosis during the next visit.

    Thanks alot for the clarification on my questions.

    pete

    • Sameer

      Hey Pete I was just reading your post and I too was diagnosed with a non viral wart. Is it possible to have such a wart not being hpv related. I was diagnosed with a non infectious wart not related to hpv

  16. Dear Doc,

    Recently i noticed some growth on the tip of my penis but haven’t had sex for the past 10 months. Went to a specialist who thought nothing of this growth and recommended surgery to remove it but i still feel really uncomfortable about it.

    You mentioned that the body’s immunity usually clears the infection after some time, any estimated time duration of this self clearing and is it a sure thing(100%) that the body will clear the virus by itself?

    Was involved in a conversation with a friend who’s doctor but he mentioned that there is no cure for HPV and this virus will follow the patient for life. Really need your advice on this.

    Thanks alot

    pete

  17. sameer

    Hi doc,
    My predicament is actually quite similar to one’s that you already answer to.

    Unfortunately, at a bachelor party things got out of control with a csw and I inserted in her for about 2 minutes. This was when I realized that what I am doing is wrong and I immediately withdrew though by the time I had ejaculated.

    I had used protection and the girl herself had asked for the same as well.

    However, my concern is that after the act I took of the protection and went to wash myself during which I cleaned my penis. Now my fear is that during this act, I might be infected to HIV or any other STD. Can you please tell me about the chances and risks which I might have been prone to. I have met a counselor and she however seems certain that nothing would happen but I am pretty paranoid and scared since in some months time I am to be married and this is the first time that I got involved in something like this.

    I took the p24 combo test after about 50 hours to exposure and that came negative, I am however getting a PCR test done on the 18th day to my exposure and I am dead scared.

    I am not asking for reassurances to help me cope with my guilt and fear but only scientific advice which can help ease my anxiety. Also, I am quite a hyper-tense person by nature and have started being scared of every thing which I feel might be happening to me.

    I am awaiting your advice eagerly-also please help me with a charted test schedules for STDs.

    Thank you!

    • Hi sameer,

      Condoms are very effective in preventing HIV and STDs but not 100%. You are at risk but the risk is not high. A combo test done at 50 hours post exposure is absolutely useless. This platform is not for giving medical advice. It is only for the provision of information. Please speak to a doctor about what HIV and STD tests you need and when.

      rgds

      Dr Tan

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