Genital Warts in Men

November 12, 2012

Genital Warts in Men

Genital warts are small, fleshy, pinkish-white growths that affect both men and women. They are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which affects 20 million Americans. Almost 5.5 million new cases of HPV infections are detected each year.

Considerations

There are more than 100 different types of HPV in the world. About one-third of these viruses are transmitted sexually. In fact, HPV infections are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases across the world. The infections may be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Genital warts may appear almost three months after the initial exposure to the HPV.

Small, cauliflower-shaped growths known as genital warts are commonly associated with HPV. While the infection is relatively rare in men, they can cause fleshy growths around the tip of the penis, and around the shaft. Warts may also appear around the scrotum and anus. Men, who frequently have oral sex, may also experience warts or lesions in their mouth and throat.

Diagnosis

If you suspect exposure to HPV, you should talk to a doctor to decide your future course of action. A thorough physical and anal examination may reveal the presence of genital warts. Application of a weak vinegar-like solution on the warts may turn them white, and confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

The treatment of genital warts depends on the size and location of the growths. There is no treatment to remove the virus itself. Common options include:

  • Imiquimod, an immune-response cream applied to the infected area
  • You may also apply 20% podophyllin anti-mitotic solution to the infected area, and wash it off later.
  • You may also apply 0.5% podofilox solution or 5% 5-fluorouracil cream to genital warts.
  • Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can also help treat HPV-related warts.
  • Talk to your doctor if you experience any pain during the treatment. Laser surgery, cryosurgery or electrocautery can also help remove small warts surgically.
  • Intravenous administration of anti-viral alpha-interferon can prevent recurrence of genital warts.

Prevention

Avoiding direct contact with the virus is the only way to avoid HPV-related warts. Genital warts often recur, and should be treated completely before having sexual contact. Condoms may prevent the spread of the virus if they occupy the entire area covered by the warts. Maintaining a good hygiene is also important for the prevention and treatment of genital warts. Remember that untreated genital warts may lead to anal or penile cancers. Early detection is essential for the treatment of such cancers.

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