What are Genital Warts ?
Genital warts are small bumps or lesions that develop in your genitals and are one of the commonly occurring infections. Genital warts appear on sexually active people at some point of their life. It occurs more in women than men. It affects the tissues of private parts causing itching or discomfort. They are caused by HPV human papillomavirus and easily spread to other partners through sex. They grow as small flesh colored lesions on the walls of vagina or between the anus and genitals for women and on the tip of the penis or on the scrotum or anus for men. It can be easily treated through medications or removed through surgery.
Genital warts appear as small red colored lesions or bumps on the genital parts. In some people, warts develop as a group and for others it is seen as single. It looks like tiny cauliflower in appearance. It may cause itching and discomfort on the sex organs. And for some women it can cause bleeding while having sex. The size of genital warts differs from one person to another. Often genital warts are so small that it is visible only seen through lens or special device. But for some people several small sized warts join together to form big cluster.
Genital warts are caused by group of virus known as human papillomavirus. Not all the HPV virus will cause genital warts but only certain strains would cause these warts. If your immune system is weakened due to some reason, genital warts would develop easily through sexual contact.
Who Are At Risk?
People having sex with multiple partners, having unprotected sex and sex workers have increased risk for getting genital warts. Young adults who become active in sex are prone to get genital warts. In rare cases genital warts can cause cervical cancer. It is better to do Pap smear tests regularly (for women) if you are above 45 years. Genital warts can cause problems with urinating during pregnancy.
It is difficult to detect genital warts owing to its small size. Even doctors cannot diagnose warts by naked eye. She would apply mild acid solution on the genitals to make it white in color. Then she can view them through lens or colposcope.
Pap smear test is to done by women regularly to prevent getting problems like genital warts. Any changes in vagina and cervix can be detected by this test. Your doctor will remove small tissue sample from your vagina using a lengthy tool. She would insert the device between the uterus and vagina to remove the sample which is then tested on the lab.
No treatment is required if the genital warts are too small in size and does not cause any discomfort. Your immune system will fight and destroy warts gradually. Topical creams like Aldara or Zyclara is used for triggering the immune system to destroy genital warts. It can cause redness or inflammation of the skin on your genitals.
Genital warts can be removed using podophyllin solution. Your doctor will guide you about the process of applying this medicine and you should be careful not to apply it inside your vagina. You can also use tricholoroacetic acid solution for burning genital warts. Do not try over the counter creams or medications for removing genital warts since it can aggravate your pain.
Surgery is done for removing large warts. Your doctor may do cryotherapy (freezing the warts by liquid nitrogen), electrocautering and surgical excision. She may use local anesthesia on your genitals while doing the procedure so that you will not feel the pain.
If you are weak in sex you can use condoms while having sex with strangers to prevent getting genital warts. Most of the time, this method works out well. Nowadays vaccination named Gardasil is available to prevent HPV infection. This vaccine is effective in preventing other HPV strains that cause cervical cancer.