Genital Warts are a type of Genital HPV infection which is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Human papillomavirus is the name of a group of viruses of which there are more than 100 various strains or types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own.
If you think you have Genital Warts, PLEASE DON'T PANIC
Some of these viruses are called "high-risk" types, and may cause abnormal Pap tests. They may also lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, or penis. Others are called "low-risk" types, and they may cause mild Pap test abnormalities or genital warts.
What are Genital Warts?
HPV is a very common std with about 20 million people currently infected. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women will get a genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. Every year just over 6.0 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.
It is spread through sexual contact usually via the genital area. Most HPV infections have no signs or symptoms; therefore, most infected persons are unaware they are infected, yet they can transmit the virus to a sex partner. Rarely, a pregnant woman can pass HPV to her baby during vaginal delivery. A baby that is exposed to HPV very rarely develops warts in the throat or voice box.
How do you get Genital Warts?
Most people who have a genital HPV infection do not know they are infected. The virus lives in the skin or mucous membranes and usually causes no symptoms. Some people get visible genital warts, or have pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, vulva, anus, or penis. Very rarely, HPV infection results in anal or genital cancers
What are the symptoms of Genital Warts?
Most people who have a genital HPV infection do not know they are infected. The virus lives in the skin or mucous membranes and usually causes no symptoms. Some people get visible genital warts, or have pre-cancerous changes in the cervix, vulva, anus, or penis. Very rarely, HPV infection results in anal or genital cancers.
Genital warts usually appear as soft, moist, pink, or flesh-colored swellings, usually in the genital area. They can be raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large, and sometimes cauliflower shaped. They can appear on the vulva, in or around the vagina or anus, on the cervix, and on the penis, scrotum, groin, or thigh. After sexual contact with an infected person, warts may appear within weeks or months, or not at all.
Genital Warts Pictures
Genital warts are diagnosed by visual inspection. Visible genital warts can be removed by medications the patient applies, or by treatments performed by a health care provider. Some individuals choose to forego treatment to see if the warts will disappear on their own. No treatment regimen for genital warts is better than another, and no one treatment regimen is ideal for all cases.
As genital warts are caused by a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics will not get rid of them.
A common treatment is a brown liquid (podophyllin) which is painted on to the wart(s) and must be washed off 4 hours later (or sooner, if the area is irritated). The clinic may prescribe podophylotoxin for use at home.
Another common treatment is freezing the warts or laser treatment. Often more than one kind of treatment is necessary before the warts are gone. These treatments may be uncomfortable, but they should not be painful. If your treatment hurts, tell the doctor. You should get individual advice about having sex during treatment from your doctor, nurse or health adviser
No one treatment is better than another. But warts often come back within a few months after treatment—so several treatments may be needed. Treating genital warts may not necessarily lower a man’s chances of passing HPV on to his sex partner. Because of this, some men choose not to treat genital warts. If they are not treated, genital warts may go away on their own, stay the same, or grow (in size or number). They will not turn into cancer or threaten your health.
Depending on the size of your and location of the wart, and other factors, a doctor will offer one of several ways to treat them. Small warts can be removed by freezing (cryosurgery), burning (electrocautery), or laser treatment. Surgery is occasionally used to remove large warts that have not responded to other treatment. Some doctors inject the antiviral drug interferon-alpha directly into the warts, to treat warts that have returned after removal by traditional means. The drug is expensive, and does not reduce the rate that the warts return. Although treatments can remove the warts, they do not remove the HPV virus, so warts can recur after treatment. Traditional theories postulated that the virus remained in the body for a lifetime.
Genital Warts Treatment
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What else can I do?
What else can I do when I have a genital herpes outbreak besides taking medicine?
If you have genital warts:
Keep your genitals clean and dry.
Don’t use scented soaps and bath oils or vaginal deodorants, as these may irritate the warts.
Use condoms when having sex.
Remember, condoms will only protect against the wart virus if they cover the affected areas.
Make sure that your partner has a check-up too, as they may have warts which they haven’t noticed
It is important to return regularly for treatment until your warts have gone so that the doctor or nurse can check progress and make any necessary changes in your treatment. Sometimes treatment can take a long time. The majority of people whose warts initially disappear will get a recurrence.