Genital Warts

Genital Warts

Genital Warts (HPV)

 

Description

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) causes warts and a particular strain of this virus causes genital warts. Genital warts are relatively easy to detect; they are small lumps that typically have an irregular cauliflower-like surface. The colour and shape of a wart varies depending on its location on the body. Unlike men, who develop genital warts only on the surface of the genitals, women can have warts appear inside their vagina as well.

Symptoms

The symptoms of genital warts are very benign other than the appearance of a wart. Some people experience irritation and itching around the affected area. For women, the vulva and the perineum are the areas most affected. Genital warts can also appear on the vagina, cervix, and anus. In men, the warts most often appear on the glans (head of the penis), foreskin, and urethral opening. Warts may also appear on the shaft of the penis, scrotum, and anus. Men sometimes have shiny spots called “pearly papules” on the glans, which are normal and should not be confused with warts. Many people may have the genital wart strain of HPV and show no symptoms.

Transmission

HPV is extremely contagious and is transmitted mostly through intimate contact of moist surfaces (i.e., oral sex, vaginal intercourse, etc.). There does not have to be any physical manifestation of the virus for it to be transmittable.

Treatment

Treatments for genital warts are designed to reduce the spread of the warts in the infected person and to potential partners. Treatment can be an arduous process because, like all warts, genital warts have a tendency to reappear. Warts which are not showing on the surface or interior of a woman’s genitals, but are detected by a Pap test, are usually only treated if the woman has multiple partners. There are several treatments your physician might recommend/use to remove genital warts. Some of these treatments are:

  • Liquid nitrogen or tri-chloro-acetic acid, used to freeze or burn small warts, respectively.
  • Podophyllin, a doctor administered topical solution. (Not used on internal warts due to it being toxic)
  • Condyline, a purified solution of podophyllin meant for home use.
  • Efudex cream, used to rid warts inside the urethra and the vagina.

Please consult your doctor regarding the treatment that is best suited for your case.

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