You recently noticed what felt an obstruction in your throat when you swallowed. As near as you can tell by holding your mouth open in front of a mirror, something is growing on the back of your throat. It looks like a wart. How could you get a wart in your throat? Is it going to get bigger or will it just go away? Should you ignore it? If not, what should you do about it? Do you have to see a specialist? Don’t stress. Instead, keep reading for answers to your questions.
Table of Contents
- What Are Throat Warts and What Do They Look Like?
- How Can I Know If I Have HPV In My Throat?
- Genital Warts in My Throat
- How Can Throat Warts Be Removed?
What Are Throat Warts and What Do They Look Like?
Throat warts are growths on the back of your mouth. They may be any color but are most often white. Their rough surface and pale colors make them look like tiny cauliflowers attached to the membrane in your throat.
Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Throat warts are no exception as they are also an HPV infection. They are the result of the same type of HPV that is responsible for genital warts. Most sexually active individuals are infected with HPV at one time or another. Not everyone has symptoms and can unwittingly infect those with whom they have sex.
Most warts are benign, or harmless, growths that eventually go away without treatment. Genital warts are different. The HPV strain that causes them can also cause cervical, penile, and anal cancers. Genital warts in your throat puts you at risk for various mouth and throat cancers.
How Can I Know If I Have HPV In My Throat?
Your first symptom of throat warts may be a feeling of obstruction.
You may also experience:
- Chronic coughing,
- Difficulty breathing,
- Difficulty swallowing,
- Itching or burning,
Most of the symptoms depend on the size and location of the warts. A cluster of small warts will usually feel different from one large growth.
Throat Warts Can be Serious
Untreated throat warts have the potential to become oropharyngeal cancer.
The lesions can grow on:
- The roof of your mouth,
- Your throat,
- Your tongue,
- Your tonsils.
In the past, cancers related to your mouth and throat were often caused by smoking. It’s still a major risk, especially for older adults.
Statistics now indicate a rise in throat cancers resulting from HPV infections in younger people. Researchers attribute this to the increased acceptance of oral sex. This article describes warts on tongue, which are also a result of oral sex with an infected person.
Genital Warts in My Throat
Warts thrive in warm and moist areas of your body. They are easily transmitted from one individual to another via skin-to-skin contact. HPV has many varieties, but not all of them cause warts. Each variety has a number, and HPV-16 is the type that causes genital warts. It’s designated as a high-risk type due to the fact that it often leads to various cancers.
Engaging in oral sex with a person who has genital warts exposes you to infection in your mouth and throat. Intimately kissing a person with throat warts can also lead to infection. You can learn here how an HPV infection can lead to a wart on gums as well as in your throat.
Who Gets HPV Warts?
Medical science hasn’t yet discovered why, but women tend to have fewer genital warts in their throats than men have.
Individuals who have the greatest risk of contracting genital warts and throat warts are those who:
- Became sexually active at an early age.
- Have multiple sex partners.
- Their partners have multiple sex partners.
- Have weakened immune systems.
Smokers are also known to have a higher chance of an HPV infection than nonsmokers have.
Are Warts in Throat Contagious?
All warts are contagious. HPV enters your body through breaks in your skin. You may have scratches on your skin that are too small for you to see them. Once your skin comes into contact with an infected person, you’re at risk. If your sexual activity includes oral sex, then you’re at risk for throat warts. There’s more information in this article about how oral sex can also lead to warts in mouth if your partner has an HPV infection.
It’s possible to have an HPV infection with no symptoms, or the warts may be so small that you don’t realize you have them. HPV can remain dormant in your system for long periods of time. You are still contagious even during dormancy or when symptomless.
When women have a Pap test that indicates abnormal cell growth, their physician can order a second test. The test is a swab of cervical cells, similar to the Pap smear. The second test will undergo analysis to detect the presence of HPV DNA.
If men don’t have outward symptoms of HPV, such as genital warts, there isn’t any way to confirm an infection. Currently, there isn’t a test for men that will detect the virus.
How Can Throat Warts Be Removed?
Removing throat warts is not a DIY process. You will need to consult a specialist, preferably one that is experienced with throat warts. The skin in your throat is very sensitive and can be a difficult area to treat.
Professionals generally choose one of two removal treatments. These are:
- Laser: a focused beam of light is used to cauterize the blood vessels nourishing the warts. This can be painful and expensive, but the warts are killed very quickly. It’s mostly frequently recommended for large or painful warts. For more information click here.
- Liquid nitrogen: an extremely cold product is dabbed on the warts to freeze them. The warts die in a few days. It’s more often used for a small number of warts. Read more here.
It’s also possible to have throat warts surgically excised in certain cases.
Over The Counter Treatment And Home Remedies
You can find over the counter products for removing warts. If you choose one, make sure that it’s safe for internal use. Freezing off throat warts should only be administered by a professional and not done at home with over the counter wart freeze products.
There is presently no cure for HPV. Only your immune system can defeat HPV. For as long as HPV is in your body, you can develop warts. Having the warts removed, regardless of the process used, does not kill the virus.
Before starting any treatment at home for throat warts, you should consult a physician for a diagnosis. If your growth is something other than a wart, such as a cancerous lesion, a wart treatment can make it worse. The wrong treatment will also keep you from obtaining the correct treatment in the early stages of growth.
A few home remedies have been helpful for individuals with throat warts. These include:
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C strengthens your immunity, and it also has antiviral properties. It can help your immune system overcome the wart-causing virus. You can take a high-quality supplement or consume Vitamin C foods.
- Citrus fruits: They are naturally high in Vitamin C, which makes them helpful. They are also slightly acidic and can help slowly erode warts. If it doesn’t irritate your throat warts, try gargling with citrus fruit juices.
- Thuja occidentalis: A powerful wart killer, thuja is available as tablets and is often included in various homeopathic wart remedies. You can also purchase it as a tincture which you can carefully dab on your throat warts. You may also use thuja as a gargle. Further details can be found here.
Gargling with salt water or swallowing honey can help soothe irritated throat warts.
You can experiment with hot and cold drinks to see which feels best on your throat. You may have to eat soft foods if other foods scratch your throat warts.
What’s the Best Medicine for Warts in My Throat?
The virus that causes warts can only be subdued by a strong immune system. If your immune system is strong, it can eliminate HPV on first contact, before it infects you. If you develop throat warts, your immune system can work to suppress the virus.
The best medicine for throat warts, therefore, is all the steps you can take to strengthen your body’s ability to destroy the cause.
These steps include:
- Getting enough sleep,
- Eating healthy food,
- Exercising regularly,
- Quitting smoking,
- Reducing alcohol consumption,
- Spending time appreciating nature.
Chronic stress is the worst enemy your immune system can have. Reducing stress can be difficult in today’s world, but it’s essential to your overall health to do so. Find a way to make some time for yourself during which you can let go and relax a bit. You may discover that’s the best medicine for your throat warts.
Warts in throat can be serious, especially if they keep growing. Treatment is best if started immediately while they’re small and fewer in number. Only a small percentage of genital warts in your throat become malignant, but you risk your health if you ignore them. If you don’t get relief within a month of trying home remedies, you’re well-advised to consult a medical professional.