Growths (War ts) on the Genitals 269
Warts are caused by a virus. Warts on the genitals look like
warts on other parts of the body. It is possible to have genital
warts and not know it, especially when they are inside the vagina
or inside the tip of the penis. Warts may go away without
treatment, but it can take a long time. Usually they continue to get
worse and should be treated.
• small, painless, whitish or
brownish bumps that have
a rough surface.
In women, these bumps
usually grow on the folds of
the vulva, inside the vagina,
and around the anus.
In men, they usually
grow on the penis,
(or just inside it) and
on the scrotum, or
IMPORTANT Large, flat, wet growths that look like warts
may be a sign of syphilis (see the next page). Try to get a test for
syphilis, and DO NOT use the following treatment.
1. Put some petroleum gel or other greasy ointment on the skin
around each wart to protect the healthy skin.
2. With a small stick or tooth pick, carefully put on a very small
amount of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) until the wart turns
white. You can also use bichloracetic acid (BCA).
Apply 20% podophyllin solution in the same way until
the wart turns brown. Podophyllin must be washed off
6 hours later. Do not use podophyllin while you are pregnant.
If the treatment is working, it will cause a painful sore where the
wart used to be. Keep the sores clean and dry. Try not to have
sex until they are gone, but if you must have sex, your partner
should use a condom. The sores should heal within a week or two.
Watch them to make sure they do not get infected.
Several treatments are usually necessary to get rid of all the
warts (it does not matter which solution you use). You can repeat
the treatment after one week. Try not to get acid on a sore where
a wart used to be. If there is too much irritation, wait longer
before the next treatment.
➤ Your partner
should use condoms
during sex until you
both have no more
➤ Warts grow faster
If you have a lot
of them, this can
cause problems with
childbirth. Talk with a
health worker about
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012