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Genital Warts (HPV)

Genital warts:

Genital warts are soft growths on the skin and mucus membranes of the genitals. They may be found on the penis, vulva, urethra, vagina, cervix, and around and in the anus.Genital warts are spread through sexual contact.

 

Important facts about HPV:

►HPV infection spreads from one person to another through sexual contact involving the anus, mouth, or vagina. The virus can be spread, even if you do not see the warts.

►You may not see warts for 6 weeks to 6 months after becoming infected. You may not notice them for years.

►Not everyone who has come into contact with the HPV virus and genital warts will develop them.


 

Causes:

The virus that causes genital warts is called human papilloma virus (HPV). More than 70 different types of HPV exist. Certain types of HPV can lead to precancerous changes in the cervix, or to cervical cancer or anal cancer. These are called high-risk types of HPV.Not all types of HPV cause genital warts. Other types of HPV cause warts on other parts of the skin, such as the hands.

HPV infection around the genitals is common. Most people have no symptoms. In women, HPV can spread to areas inside, on the walls of the vagina and cervix. They are not easy to see without special medical procedures.

 

You are more likely to get genital warts and spread them more quickly if you:

Have multiple sexual partners

Are sexually active at an early age

Use tobacco and/or alcohol

Have a viral infection, such as herpes, and are stressed at the same time\

Are pregnant

Have a weakened immune system due to an illness or medication

If a child has genital warts, you should suspect sexual abuse as a possible cause.

Symptoms:

Genital warts can be so tiny, you cannot see them.

The warts can look like:

Flesh-colored spots that are raised or flat

Growths that look like the top of a cauliflower

 

In females, genital warts can be found:

Inside the vagina or anus

Outside the vagina or anus, or on nearby skin

On the cervix inside the body

 

In males, genital warts can be found on the:

Penis

Scrotum

Groin area

Thighs

Inside or around the anus

Genital warts can also occur on the

Lips

Mouth

Tongue

Throat

Other symptoms are rare, but can include:

Increased dampness in the genital area near the warts

Increased vaginal discharge

  Genital itching

Vaginal bleeding during or after sex

 

Exams and Tests:

The health care provider will perform a physical exam.In women, this includes a pelvic exam.The virus that causes genital warts can cause abnormal results on a Pap smear. If you have these types of changes, you will probably need more frequent Pap smears for a while.An HPV DNA test can tell if you have a high-risk type of HPV known to cause cervical cancer.

This test may be done:

As a screening test for women over age 30

In women of any age who have a slightly abnormal Pap test result.


Treatment:

Genital warts must be treated by a Doctor. Do not use the counter medicines meant for other kinds of warts.

Treatment may include:

A skin treatment done in the doctor's office

Prescription medicine that you apply at home several times a week

 

The warts may be removed with minor procedures, including:

Freezing (cryosurgery)

Burning (electrocauterization)

Laser therapy

Surgery

If you have genital warts, all of your sexual partners must be examined by a health care provider and treated if warts are found. Even if you do not have symptoms, you must be treated. This is to prevent complications and spreading the condition to others.