Genital warts refer to the common sexually transmitted infection. The problem can affect sexually active people. Commonly, people with an active sex life can face the risk of infection from at least one type of HPV (human papillomavirus). HPV can cause infection at any point in your life. In most cases, women can suffer from a problem compared to men. Do you wish to know more about the common problem? Then, read ahead to know the comprehensive details about the sexually transmitted infection.
What Are Genital Warts?
As the name suggests, you can develop warts in the genital region. It affects the moist areas in your genital area. The growth has a small size that may not appear to the naked eye. The flesh-colored bumps can appear alone or as a cluster. The cluster of bumps can have a cauliflower-like appearance. Sexually infected warts differ from other warts that appear elsewhere in your body. The sexually transmitted infection can affect the genital region due to HPV. Some strains of HPV can cause cancer. Therefore, you need to maintain caution. It is possible to prevent the condition by getting a vaccination that can protect you against certain strains of HPV.
Symptoms Of Genital Warts
Sexually transmitted infections like warts rarely become visible to human eyes. Warts in your genital region have a small size and have the color of your skin or a slightly darker color. The top of the growth can resemble a cauliflower. When you touch it, you can feel a smooth or bumpy texture. It can appear as a single wart or a cluster of warts. It can appear in the following areas:
Men suspecting the sexually transmitted infection can check the following areas:
- Around or inside the anus
Women suffering from the problem can develop warts in the following regions
- Inside or outside the vagina
- On the cervix
- Inside or outside the anus
The sexually transmitted infection can also affect the mouth or throat. It is common in people who have come in contact with an infected person. The signs associated with the problem include:
- Small swellings in the genital area
- Swellings have gray or flesh color
- A cluster of growths that look like a cauliflower
- Itching or discomfort in the genital region
- Bleeding during sexual intercourse
In some cases, the growth can appear small and flat. So, it does not appear visible to naked eyes. It can multiply into large clusters. Then, it becomes visible to your eyes. The sexually transmitted infection can develop into something complicated. So, you need to see a doctor when you or your partner develops bumps in the genital area.
Causes Of Genital Warts
Genital warts occur due to the infection by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than forty HPV strains that can affect your genital region. HPV is a complex Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) that is difficult to understand. Though it is the most common infection, it can go away on its own. But, some high-risk HPV can develop into cancer without treatment. The low-risk types of HPV can result in the development of warts in your genital region. So, it affects penis, scrotum, anus, rectum, vulva, vagina or cervix.
Genital HPV can spread through sexual contact. So, having a sexual relationship with an infected person can result in the infection. It can affect you when you have unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex with an infected partner. You can spread the sexual infection even without having visible warts. It is also possible for the affected mother to pass warts to the baby during vaginal birth.
Risk Factors Associated With Genital Warts
The sexually transmitted infection can affect people who have an active sexual life. It is estimated that sexually active people can become infected by any type of HPV strain at any point in their life. But, some people can have an increased risk of getting infected by genital warts. So, people experiencing any one of the factors can suffer from the problem:
- Having unprotected sex with more than one partner
- Becoming sexually active at a young age
- Suffering from any other sexually transmitted infection
- Having sex with a partner whose sexual history remains unclear
The above-mentioned factors increase your risk of suffering from the sexually transmitted infection compared to others.
Complications Due To Genital Warts
Without getting treatment, the wart poses a huge risk to affected people. You can suffer from the following complications:
Certain HPV strains are closely linked with cancer. So, when you choose to ignore the condition, it can result in cervical cancer. The genital HPV infection can also result in cancer of penis, anus, vulva, mouth or throat. While HPV infections may not always result in cancer, it is important to maintain caution. Women need to undergo a Pap test regularly to monitor their condition. It is especially a necessity for women who have suffered from higher risk types of HPV.
Pregnant women suffering from genital warts can face complications. Warts can become large, making it difficult to urinate. If warts affect the vaginal walls, then it becomes difficult for the vaginal walls to stretch during childbirth. Warts present on the vulva or in the vagina face the risk of bleeding during delivery. The stretching of the vaginal walls can result in the condition.
In some rare cases, a baby born to a mother with warts can develop the problem. The child can develop warts in his/her throat. It results in requiring surgery to ensure the baby’s airway remains clear without any obstruction.
Diagnosing Genital Warts
It is difficult to detect genital warts. Warts have to become visible to make it contagious. Else, the virus remains in the resting or latent phase. So, when warts become visible on your skin, it can spread from one person to another. In normal cases, your healthy immune system can clear the infection on its own. But, when you have an active sexual life, it is important to seek a doctor’s assistance as early as possible. With visible warts, you have a high risk of passing HPV to your partner. Your doctor can use the following methods to detect the problem:
You can consult a doctor to detect the presence of genital warts. Doctors can look at them and detect the problem. The physical examination can involve looking into vagina, anus or genital area. Your doctor can apply a mild acetic solution to the affected area. It can whiten warts. Your doctor then views the affected area through a colposcope(it is the special magnifying instrument)
A regular pelvic examination can save women from cancer or other vaginal problems. Undergoing Pap tests can detect the changes appearing in the vaginal and cervical region caused by warts. It will help detect early signs of cervical cancer, which can occur due to genital HPV infection.
To take the Pap sample, your doctor can use a special device called a speculum to hold open the vagina. Your doctor can use a long-handled tool to collect a sample from the cervix. The cervix (the passage between the vagina and uterus) cells is sent to the lab for checking abnormalities. Technicians can check the sample under a microscope to detect any problems.
Only certain types of genital HPV strains can cause cervical cancer. In such cases, your doctor can assess your risk by taking the cervical cell sample. It is obtained during the Pap test. The sample is sent to the lab for detecting if the HPV strains cause cancer or not. It is the test mostly suggested for women who are above thirty years of age. The test is not suggested for younger women as they have a strong immune system. It can kill cancer-causing HPV genital strains without any medical treatment.
Based on the diagnosis, your doctor can suggest the apt treatment plan to offer you relief from the sexually transmitted infection.
Treatment For Genital Warts
HPV can cause the development of warts that may or may not cause discomfort. Some people can experience symptoms like burning, pain or itching. In such cases, you need medications to alleviate the problem. But, you have no treatment to kill the virus. You can clear warts with medication and surgery. The problem can recur even after getting surgery or taking medications. Your doctor suggests the following treatment options to help manage the condition:
If the warts are not severe in nature, then your doctor treats the condition by prescribing medication. You can apply the medication directly on the skin to get results. The following medications can offer you relief:
Your doctor can suggest the cream that can boost your immune system. It helps your immune system fight the infection. But, when you apply the cream, avoid sexual contact. The cream can weaken contraceptive options like condoms and diaphragms. It can also cause irritation on your partner’s skin when it comes in contact with the cream. The cream can cause some unwanted side-effects. So, you need to talk to your doctor about the possible adverse reactions before using the cream.
Podophyllin And Podofilox
Podophyllin is an effective plant-based resin that can destroy the wart tissue. Your doctor applies the solution containing the product to alleviate the problem. Podofilox also has the same active component like podophyllin. The first application of needs doctor’s assistance. Your doctor can recommend all the precautionary steps needed to prevent the medication from causing irritation of the surrounding skin. But, after the initial application, you can apply it safely at home without a doctor’s assistance. Your doctor will advise not to use the medication internally. It is also not good to use during pregnancy.
Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)
The medication has chemicals that can burn off warts, both internal as well as external. Talk to your doctor about the side effects associated with the problem before using it.
If you have external warts along with warts around the anal canal, then your doctor can prescribe the medication. Your doctor can suggest the pros and cons associated with the medication.
Remember not to self-medicate such infections using over-the-counter wart removers. It will do more harm than good. The medications are intended for warts in other parts of the body. So, it causes issues when you use it on moist tissues of your genital area. The use of medication in such sensitive areas can result in more agony as well as irritation.
Other Options For Genital Warts Removal
Some warts may not respond to the medications or have a large size. In such cases, your doctor can suggest surgical options to remove them. The invasive techniques are also ideal for pregnant women who can expose their baby to such infections during delivery. So, your doctor can suggest the following options to remove genital warts:
The doctors freeze warts using liquid nitrogen. Freezing the warts is one of the common methods to remove the issue. It lowers the chances of the problem spreading to other areas.
It is the procedure that allows electrical current to burn off the genital wart. The electric current is directed on the infected area to destroy warts.
Your doctor gives local or general anesthesia and removes warts with specialized tools. But, you can experience pain and swelling after the procedure.
Using an intense beam of light on the affected region, your doctor can burn off warts. It is the most expensive option. But, your doctor can remove the extensive and tough warts that may not respond to other treatment options. Liquid nitrogen can cause a blister to form around the wart. When your skin heals, the lesions fall off. Then, new skin will appear. At times, you need to repeat the cryotherapy therapy treatments.
Communicating To Partner About Having Genital Warts
If you are in a committed relationship or have a sexual partner, then you need to communicate about your condition truthfully. Telling someone about your sexually transmitted infection can embarrass you. So, you will find it hard to talk about it due to people’s judgmental behavior. But, never stress about the issue. You can find yourself in a dilemma about conveying the information. It is important to tell your partner truthfully about your condition. The following tips can help you talk to your partner.
Keep Calm And Convey
Genital wart is a common condition. So, a lot of people in a relationship have the infection. Having the warts is not a huge deal. Therefore, carry on the conversation about your problem with a calm and positive attitude. The problem is just a health issue and does not say anything about your character as a person.
Have A Two Way Conversation
STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) are common in sexually active people. You may have contracted the problem from your partner. So, talk to your partner about it. Check if they have suffered from the issue before or have tested for it recently.
Avoid Blame Game
While trying to talk to your partner, avoid the blame game. If one person in a new relationship suffers from the problem, it does not mean the other person has cheated. It also does not mean you have contracted it from the current partner. Warts can take weeks, months or even longer time to develop and show visible signs. Since it is not easy to tell about when and where you got it when you have an active sex life, avoid the blame game.
Know Your Facts
Several misleading information about STDs can cause confusion. Therefore, you need to get your facts right. Always set your records straight by gathering authentic information. If you have a partner, then convey the safe methods of having an intimate relationship without passing the infection. You need to remind your partner that the problem cannot cause irreversible damage and does not cause any serious health complications. If possible, consult your doctor and talk to a medical professional about the problem.
Partners in an intimate relationship need to get themselves checked out. If one of you has the problem, it is essential to talk about methods to prevent passing them.
Preventing Genital Warts
Genital warts are annoying as it can affect your personal life. Warts can increase the risk of transmission of HPV. So, preventing is necessary to have a healthy sexual relationship. You may have heard that prevention is always better than seeking treatment. So, you can prevent the condition from affecting you by following the steps suggested below:
Warts develop due to HPV. So, you can take vaccination to prevent the common HPV strains that can affect both men and women. Vaccines like Gardasil or Gardasil 9 can protect you against the strains of HPV strains. You can also avoid other severe issues like cervical cancer with the vaccination. Another vaccination, Cervarix can also protect you against cervical cancer. But, it may not offer protection against warts.
People up to the age of forty-five can receive the vaccination to prevent HPV. Children as young as nine years can also receive the vaccination. In normal cases, the vaccination is administered in a series of two or three shots. It depends on the age of the person on how it is administered. It is important to take the vaccination before you become sexually active. Wondering why? It is because the vaccination becomes effective before you get exposed to HPV strains.
Use Condoms And Dental Dams
Limit Sexual Activity
You need to avoid having sex when you see visible warts. Even with a condom, the risk of spreading infection increases. It is because warts can develop in areas not covered by the condoms.
People who smoke have higher chances of developing the disease compared who do not smoke. Even after managing the condition, it can return when you smoke. Therefore, quit smoking to reduce your risk of developing the sexually transmitted infection.
Tell Your Partner
If you have an active sexual life, then you need to inform our sexual partner/s about warts. You need to work together with your partner to prevent spreading of the problem to others.
Genital warts may not cause irreversible complication. But, the presence of HPV strains can put you at risk of other complications. Some HPV strains can develop into cancer. Therefore, you need medical assistance to manage warts and eliminate the presence of HPV warts. The sexually transmitted infection can go away after effective treatment. You need to continue the treatment event after visible warts go away as the virus can remain in your body. With effective treatment, you can prevent its recurrence and other complications. Always consult your doctor to determine your condition and best treatment options available. Practicing safe sex and open communication with your partner can avoid infections and other issues.View Article Sources