Genital Warts Treatment During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and have genital warts, your treatment options will be different than they would be if you weren't expecting. Most women who have genital warts during pregnancy do not have complications and have normal pregnancies. However, genital warts can be transmitted both before, and possibly even during, the birth to the baby. It is possible, as well, that the warts will keep the woman from having a vaginal delivery.
Pregnant women should not apply any over-the-counter treatments to the warts without consulting with a doctor. Most over-the-counter medications for genital warts are salicylic acid-based. This can make them harmful for the unborn baby. Some prescription medications, as well, can cause birth defects because their chemical contents can be absorbed through the skin.
What Treatment Methods are Safe?
So, which treatment methods are safe if you are pregnant and have genital warts? Warts actually tend to grow quickly during pregnancy. They may actually become quite numerous and large. Doctors aren't sure why this is, but it may be due to a weakened immune system during pregnancy and to the influence that progesterone has on the body during pregnancy. The safest treatment options for pregnant women with warts are surgery and cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy for a pregnant woman involves using cold liquid nitrogen, nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide directly onto the warts. This process destroys the warts and can be used for internal or external warts. The procedure is very fast and only takes 5-15 minutes. The process is quite painful and you may want to ask for local anesthetic. The recurrence rate is between 10-40% and this is thought to be the safest method of wart removal during pregnancy.
Surgery is also an option during pregnancy, but is not thought to be as safe as cryotherapy. Warts can be cut away with excision with a 20% recurrence rate; they can be destroyed through heat with diathermy with a 25% recurrence rate; and they can be vaporized with laser treatment.
It is important to know that a Cesarean section may be necessary if you have warts at the time of delivery. Even if you've had treatment for the warts during pregnancy, it is possible that the warts will come back. The genital warts may block the birth canal and the warts may bleed as the baby passes through the canal. For these reasons, women may need to have Cesarean births instead.
If you are pregnant and have genital warts, you need to speak to your doctor about your treatment options. Hopefully, your warts will be treated quickly and easily and you'll be able to have a normal pregnancy and a regular vaginal birth.