Genital warts are soft lesions on the skin and mucosa of the genitalia of men and women. Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
The virus that causes genital warts is called human papilloma virus (HPV). There are more than 70 different types of HPV.
Many HPV types cause genital warts which can be found on the penis, vulva, urethra,vagina, cervix, and around and in the rectum.
Other types of HPV cause common or flat warts on other body parts such as the hands. But warts on the hands do not cause genital warts.
The infection by HPV in the genitals is common although many times asymptomatic. But even if you don’y have symptoms you must follow a treatment to avoid complications and prevent transmission to others.
In women HPV an infect the wall of the vagina and the cervix. These warts are flat and difficult to trace without special tests.
Specific HPV types can lead to precancerous transformations in the cervix, μπορούν να οδηγήσουν σε προκαρκινωματώδεις εξαλλαγές στον τράχηλοcervical cancer or rectal cancer. These are called high risk HPV .
HPV infection is transmitted through sexual contact with the skin of the rectum, the mouth or vagina or theis mucous membranes. Spread is possible even when the warts are not visible.
The warts may not be visible for at least 6 weeks to 6 months after the infection. It can even be longer so if you notice genital warts for the first time it does not mean that you or ypur partner had sexual intercourse with another.
Not everybody exposed to the virus HPV gets infected.
Following agents place you at higher risk :
- Having multiples sexual partners
- Not knowing if someone you had sex with had an STI
- Become sexually active at a young age
- Smoke and drink alcohol
- Having stress and other viral infections at the same time
- If you are pregnant
- Have a weak immune system like when treating cancer or AIDS
- If a child manifests genital warts the most probable cause is sexual abuse
Genital warts can be bumpy or flat usually at the color of the skin. Some times they are so small that are nort visible to the naked eye.
Common places where genital warts are found:
Women usually have warts inside or around the vagina or the anus, on the skin around these areas or the cervix.
Men usually have warts on the penis, scrotum, pelvic area or thighs, inside or around the anus for those who have anal sex.
Both genders may have warts on the lips, mouth, tongue, pharynx and larynx.
Other symptoms are rare but may include:
- Increased humidity in the area of the warts
- Increased vaginal discharges
- Itchiness on the penis, scrotum, anal area or vulva
- Vaginal bleeding during or after the sexual contact.
Genital warts must be treated by a doctor. DO NOT use drugs without prescription that are for other kinds of warts.
Your doctor can treat them by applying a treatment in his clinic. Or he can prescribe medication. This medication includes:
- trichloroacetic acid
Surgical treatments include:
- Laser Cauterization
If you develop genital warts all your partners must be examined and receive treatment if found infected.
After your treatment a visit must be scheduled to check if there is a reoccurrence.
Women who had genital warts must take a Pap-test at least once a year. For warts in the cervix the Pap-test must be taken every 3-6 months depending on the treatment.
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