Know the basics
What is genital warts?
Genital warts is the condition when you have warts in your genital organs. They may look like small, flesh-colored bumps or have a cauliflower-like appearance. In many cases, the warts are too small so you cannot see it. Genital warts are one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infections, caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus can cause genital warts as well as cervical cancer in women.
How common is genital warts?
This disease is common. Women are somewhat more likely than men to develop genital warts. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of genital warts?
The common signs and symptoms of genital warts are:
- Small, flesh-colored or gray swellings in your genital area;
- Several warts close together that shape a cauliflower shape;
- Itching or discomfort in your genital area;
- Bleeding with intercourse.
Women can have genital warts that grow on the vulva, the walls of the vagina, the area between the external genitals and the anus, the anal canal, and the cervix. Men can have genital warts on the tip or shaft of the penis, the scrotum, or the anus.
They also develop in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sexual contact with an infected person.
There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
You need to see a doctor if you or your partner has bumps or warts in the genital area. If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What causes genital warts?
The cause of genital warts is the human papilloma virus (HPV). It is reported that more than 40 different strains of HPV can affect the genital area. Through sexual contact, genital HPV is transferred. If your immune system is strong enough to kill genital HPV, you never develop signs or symptoms of the infection. However, in most cases, HPV stay domain and does not cause any symptom.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for genital warts?
There are many risk factors for genital warts, such as:
- Experiencing unprotected sex with multiple partners;
- Having had another sexually transmitted infection;
- Having sex with a partner that you don’t know their sexual history;
- Becoming sexually active at a young age.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is genital warts diagnosed?
A physical examination of any areas where you suspect warts will be done. If the warts develop deeply inside the body of the women, a pelvic examination is needed as well. Your doctor may apply a mild acidic solution, which helps to make the warts more visible.
Your doctor might also take a swab of the area to obtain cells from your cervix (Pap smear) to diagnose your disease. These can then be tested for the presence of HPV. Besides, they can ask you some questions to know about your health and sexual history.
How is genital warts treated?
Your doctor may give you topical wart treatments, including imiquimod (Aldara), podophyllin and podofilox (Condylox), trichloroacetic acid (TCA).
Over-the-counter wart removers are not encouraged treat genital warts. Because the tissues of the genital area is too moist, such medications for this purpose can cause even more pain and irritation.
Surgery is needed when you have larger warts, or warts that don’t respond to medication. If you are pregnant, surgery is also recommended to avoid taking medication what can affect the baby. Surgical options include freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) and laser treatments.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage genital warts?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with genital warts:
- Using a condom when having sex. This work significantly for decreasing your risk of contracting genital warts.
- Take sitz baths. Poor a tub with a few inches of warm water and then you can sit in it for 10 or 15 minutes every day.
- Use a heat lamp or a hair dryer. You can use these things to dry your genital area. However, you need to reassure that you hold the lamp or dryer at least 40 cm from your skin.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Genital warts. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/genital-warts/basics/symptoms/con-20019380. Accessed June 12, 2016.
Genital warts. http://www.healthline.com/health/std/genital-warts#Overview1. Accessed June 12, 2016.
Genital warts – Home treatment. http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/tc/genital-warts-human-papillomavirus-home-treatment. Accessed June 12, 2016.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017