Genital warts

Other names: Condylomata acuminata, Venereal warts

DEFINITION

Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They appear as small, flesh-colored bumps or may have a cauliflower-like appearance in the moist tissues of the genital area.

SYMPTOMS

Genital warts can vary in appearance and location depending on gender. They may be small, flesh-colored swellings, clustered together like cauliflower, causing itching, discomfort, or bleeding during intercourse.

CAUSES

Genital warts are caused by HPV strains that are spread through sexual contact. Most people with HPV do not show symptoms, but certain strains can lead to genital warts or cancer.

RISK FACTORS

Factors increasing the risk of genital warts include unprotected sex with multiple partners, previous sexually transmitted infections, unknown sexual history of partners, and early sexual activity.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications of genital warts may include cancer (cervical, vulvar, anal, penile, mouth, throat) and pregnancy-related issues such as difficulty urinating or giving birth.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Before seeing a doctor for genital warts, note your symptoms, sexual history, and medical information. Prepare questions about diagnosis, treatment options, prevention of transmission to others, and potential recurrence.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis of genital warts involves visual inspection or applying acetic acid for better visualization. Pap tests and HPV tests may be done to check for cervical changes or cancer-causing HPV strains.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment for genital warts includes medications like imiquimod or podophyllin applied to the skin and surgical interventions like cryotherapy or excision for larger warts. Avoid over-the-counter remedies in the genital area.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Using condoms during sex can reduce the risk of contracting genital warts but is not foolproof. Vaccination with Gardasil can protect against HPV strains causing most genital warts and cervical cancer.

QUESTIONS

  1. What causes Genital warts?

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

  1. What are the symptoms of Genital warts?

Symptoms include small flesh-colored bumps, cauliflower-like growths, itching, discomfort, and bleeding during intercourse.

  1. How are Genital warts diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves visual inspection and sometimes applying acetic acid to visualize the warts better.

  1. What are the treatment options for Genital warts?

Treatment includes medications like imiquimod or podophyllin and surgical interventions like cryotherapy or excision.

  1. Can Genital warts lead to cancer?

Yes, certain HPV strains that cause Genital warts are also linked to various cancers such as cervical cancer.

  1. How can one reduce the risk of contracting Genital warts?

Consistent condom use during sexual activity can significantly reduce the risk of contracting Genital warts.

  1. Are there vaccines available for preventing Genital warts?

Yes, vaccines like Gardasil protect against HPV strains causing most Genital warts and cervical cancer.

  1. When should one consider seeing a doctor for Genital warts?

If you notice any bumps or growths in your genital area or experience symptoms like itching or discomfort, it's advisable to see a doctor.

  1. Can over-the-counter remedies be used to treat Genital warts?

No, over-the-counter remedies should not be used in the genital area as they may cause more harm than good.

  1. What are the potential complications of Genital warts during pregnancy?

Genital warts may enlarge and cause difficulties during childbirth or lead to throat warts in newborns requiring medical intervention.