Genital warts

Genital warts are the second most common STI in the UK. They often look like small fleshy growths, bumps or skin changes that appear on or around the genital or anal area.

Genital warts are usually painless and people may carry the virus without having any symptoms. While they do not pose a serious threat to a person's health, they can appear unsightly and be distressing.


The most common places for genital warts to develop in women are:

  • in and around the vagina between the vagina and the anus
  • around the anus

The most common places for genital warts to develop in men are:

  • on the shaft or head of the penis

  • around the anus or scrotum

Getting tested

There isn't a specific test for genital warts. If you think you might have genital warts you should contact your local sexual health clinic or GP practice. You shouldn't attempt to treat genital warts using over the counter medicines and creams.

There are several ways to treat genital warts, including a treatment you can use at home. Your doctor or nurse will advise which is the best form of treatment for you.

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