Thanks for joining our message boards and posting. Your feelings are not uncommon, as an HPV diagnosis can be very stressful. You're doing the right thing by reaching out, asking questions, and seeking support, and I hope we're able to assist.
There is no single treatment that is universally considered the best. They all have "pros" and "cons" and the choice of treatment is usually made while considering factors such as size, number, location, and distribution of warts to be removed. Warts that are large in size or number are often treated surgically, while smaller lesions can usually be effectively removed with topical agents. Recurrence rates vary and can be a bit misleading (some treatments might have higher recurrence rates, for example, because they're often used with cases that proved more difficult to begin with).
Review treatment options on our Web site, and per 2006 CDC guidelines:http://www.ashastd.org/hpv/hpv_learn_warts.cfm#7http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/
Aldara tends to work better with females than males and can be used for external genital warts. On the website for the product (www.aldara.com
) it says women should take care when applying the cream near the vaginal opening because skin irritation can occur on the delicate, moist skin in that area. If you have questions about how to use aldara, check first with your health care provider.
You're correct in that cigarette smoking is strongly linked with HPV persistence and recurrences, probably becuase smoking damages certain components of the immune system that are important in suppressing HPV infections. To be honest, I have never seen any data on pot smoking and HPV, so I'm not sure what to say about that. Do you feel comfortable asking your doctor/nurse about that, to see what they can tell you?
I suggest you also read some of our other discussions on the immune response and HPV clearance. For more on this go to http://www.ashastd.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=394
Post anytime, and I hope this helps.
All the best,