How is human papilloma virus (HPV) treated?

There is no cure for the virus itself, but many HPV infections go away on their own. In fact, about 70 to 90 percent of cases of HPV infection are cleared from the body by the immune system.

When treatment is needed, the goal is to relieve symptoms by removing any visible warts and abnormal cells in the cervix. Treatments might include:

  • Cryosurgery: Freezing the warts off with liquid nitrogen.
  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): Using a special wire loop to remove the abnormal cells.
  • Electrocautery: Burning the warts off with an electrical current.
  • Laser therapy: Using an intense light to destroy the warts and any abnormal cells.
  • Prescription cream: Applying medicated cream directly to the warts. (Do not use over-the-counter wart treatments on the genital area.)

In some cases, no treatment is needed. However, your doctor will closely watch any cell changes during your regular screening appointments.

Only a small number of women infected with HPV will develop cellular changes that need to be treated.

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