How to Identify and Deal with Genital Warts

November 12, 2012

How to Identify and Deal with Genital Warts

Genital warts are an STI (sexually transmitted infection) which may appear on the vagina, urethra, vulva, penis, and in and around the anus.

These warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and this infection is quite common. Most patients show no symptoms of genital warts. In women the warts can spread to the inner walls in the cervix and vagina.

This infection is spread through sexual contact and they may not appear straight away. After infection it can take anything from six weeks to six months to be noticeable.

The following leads to a higher risk of having genital warts:

  • Compromised immune system

  • Pregnancy

  • Multiple sexual partners

  • Sexually active from a young age

  • Alcohol and tobacco

  • Viral infection, e.g. herpes

Genital warts can appear as raised or flat spots, growths which look like a cauliflower and can be found inside and outside of the vagina or anus and the cervix. Males will find genital warts on their penis, groin area, inside the anus, scrotum and thighs. Warts may also appear on the throat, mouth, lips and tongue.

Rare symptoms may include itching in the area of the genitals, vaginal discharge increase, bleeding in the vagina after or during sex, increase in dampness in the area of the warts.

Treatment of this condition has to be carried out by a medical professional. Over the counter wart treatment should not be used. The treatment which may be given is prescribed medication and/or treatment of the area. In some cases surgery may be required and this may include excision, cryosurgery, laser therapy and electrocauterization.

If genital warts are found all sexual partners must receive an examination. If no symptoms are showing it is still important to receive treatment and prevent the condition spreading to other people. After treatment for genital warts it is still possible to pass this infection onto others.

Young sexually active women can become infected with this virus and in a number of cases the virus goes away on its own accord. Men who have been infected with the virus very rarely have any problems or symptoms of HPV, but they can pass this virus on to current and future sexual partners.

There have been reports that particular forms of HPV may cause cancer in the vulva and cervix. Also the HPV that causes the warts is not the same virus that may cause anal or penile cancer.

In some cases the warts become larger. The amount of warts can also increase in numbers and this would mean an intensive course of treatment is necessary.

The only way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases such as genital warts is to avoid sexual contact. The risk of an STI is reduced if the sexual relationship is with a partner who has no sexually transmitted disease.

Condoms do not provide protection as the virus can develop on skin around the genitalia. But condoms do lower the risk of other sexually transmitted diseases.

Be aware that genital warts can be passed on to others even if the warts are not visible.

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