[Question #959] recurring genital warts

86 months ago


quick background info.  I have had genital warts since November 2015.  I went threw multiple treatments that did not work until I was prescribed Condylox in March 2016.  Condylox works very well at getting rid of warts unfortunately as soon as I get rid of one a new one pops up in different location.  Warts are very small. 

I am a 27 year old male in good health.  I take many supplements, work out three days a week, I have a healthy diet, don’t smoke cigarettes  and I drink only on occasion.  I do smoke a small amount of marijuana. 

At this point I have been using Condylox on new warts almost every other week for about 5 months.


1) Have you ever encountered warts that recur with such persistence despite effective treatment ? 

2) I have also had three common warts on my fingers for 10 years despite many treatments . I know these are unrelated strains of HPV but does the fact that my body can't clear the common warts mean I might also have persistent genital warts for 10+ years ? 

3) I have read on this site and many others the 90% of people with visible warts will clear them within 2 years, what happens to the other 10%?  

I ask these questions because my case seems to be very different than others I have read about. 

Thank you so much for your time!

Edward W. Hook M.D.
86 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll try to help.  Before I comment on your specific questions, a few general comments.  Visible genital warts, as long as they are warts (sometimes other dermatological conditions can be mistaken for genital warts) are not a major health risk, they are a nuisance.  They do not become cancerous and transmission to others is simply a nuisance and not a health hazard for them.  I do not mean to sound glib about your concerns but on occasion persons to get more worried about HPV infections and genital warts than they need to be.  Now, on to your questions:

1.  Yes, a small proportion of genital warts can persist.  This is not necessarily a bad sign of pr something to worry about.  There is no evidence that these persistent warts are a health hazard or that they are more or less infectious than warts that are untreated.  If anything, I suspect that such warts would be less infectious than untreated warts but there are no scientific data to prove or disprove this.

2.  The fact that you have persistent warts on your hands, nor your persistent genital warts do not suggest that there is anything otherwise wrong with you or that your immune system is not normal.

3.  For the modest proportion of persons with persistent warts they are a nuisance.  They do eventually go away althought this may take year.

I hope these comments are helpful. ,please don't worry.  EWH
86 months ago

Thank you for your quick response.  I very much appreciate all the reassurance.

I have found both you and this site to be the most helpful source of  information I have come across in the last year of dealing with this virus. 

I know I am allowed a follow up question however, if this is to much please let me know and I will gladly pay for another question.

If you don’t mind me asking what is the longest you have seen warts persist with treatment?

Also, if I am in for the long haul and these things persist over the course of years do you think it is advisable to continue with the biweekly Condylox treatments?

(this is the only option that seems to remove warts but I don’t want to cause any other damage over time) 

The last thing I will bother you with is this.  I am fairly confident that I am having recurrences but since they happen so ofter I am unable to have what I assume to be new warts checked by a doctor every time they pop up.  I worry sometimes I am becoming too obsessive over finding warts, almost as if I am trying to hard to find them.  Have you ever had patients that become unrealistically paranoid do to this condition ? 

Again, thank you very much for your time!

Edward W. Hook M.D.
86 months ago
I have certainly seen patients who have had genital warts which have persisted for three to five years although to be honest, II cannot provide you with a specific time frame as most of my patients simply accept the presence of warts and do not worry about them.  I hope you will be able to do the same thing as it does seem that you are more worried about this than you should be.

If the Condalox is not helping, I would not keep using it,

Your statement that you cannot tell if your warts are persisting or recurring troubles me a bit.  Do your warts go away with Condalox treatment?  You should be able to tell.  Further, as I implied above, are you. Sure that the lesions you are concerned about are really warts?  As I read your posts, I worry that they may not be or that you may be worrying more than you need to.  If these are really warts, please do not let them take over your life.  EWH
86 months ago

I know realistically there is no health risk to these warts.  However, my worries are less for my physical health and more for my mental.  Despite the fact that these things really aren’t a huge problem I would be hard pressed to find a girl who would agree.  They carry a heavy stigma.  If my outbreaks were more spread apart it might be easier as I have been told you can have protected intercourse when warts are not present but I can't go more than a week without a new one popping up.  So between new warts and recovery I am completely out of the sex game.  It would be difficult to find a girl willing to wait three to five years without being interment. 

 Is this an unfounded worry ? 

The reason I sometimes question that they are warts:

The warts were doctor confirmed.  The initial outbreak was clearly three warts in a line bellow my penis head and under foreskin.  They were not very big, in fact the doctor said it was a small out break.  Treated them with Aldara but didnt stick with it long do to no change. After that I went to doctor for 6 acid treatments.  Every time the warts were treated they came back in more or less the same location.  I was told I exhausted acid treatments and was sent home with condylox which worked completely within three days.  The three pronounced warts never came back.  Since then I have been chasing smaller single warts around the shaft of penis.  All under foreskin but in different locations. Now the reasons I sometimes question if they are warts is that they are even smaller then initial outbreak, they occur singularly rather then in a group and sometimes after finding one I have trouble locating it again.  Showed a new one to the doctor who said she wan’t sure but recommended treating it anyway. 

Since all warts have been on the folds of my foreskin if they persist for more then a couple years would circumcision be an option ? 

This will be my last question.  You have been very helpful and comforting.  Thanks again. 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
86 months ago

I continue to think you are over reacting and as I read more of your post, I am convinced of this.  If you look at numerous other posts on this site you will see that while we acknowledge that it is a personnel choice, there is no compelling reason to inform sexual partner that you have had and may have genital warts.  Sadly, while more an more persons are able to handle the issues surrounding HPV infection, there are still a substantial number of persons for who they create unwarranted fear and can damage relationships.  Thus since the are: 1. subject to overreactions of the sort you display and fear; 2.  are so widespread; and 3, are innocuous, we do not feel that persons with HPV need inform their partners or take special steps at prevention beyond widely recommended, common sense sexual health measures. 

As I read your most recent update, it sounds to me as though your original warts have been treated and I am skeptical that what you are currently worried about is even HPV infection.  My sense from your description and their location is that these may be pearly penile papules, a normal anatomic variant.  I would suggest you have a dermatologist, urologist or other knowledgeable physician take a look. 

I hope these comment are helpful to you. Since this is my third reply, this will complete this thread and it will be closed later this evening.  Take care.  EWH

86 months ago

Thank you for all your time and consideration, I feel very reassured.  I will take your advice to heart.