Did you know in the USA, around 1 in 100 sexually active adults develop genital warts at any time? Even condoms can’t fully prevent genital warts because the HPV virus may also affect the skin area that is not covered by the condom. Here we will discuss some important aspects of genital warts in detail.
Genital warts can be one of the most troublesome warts as they appear internally. They may itch or burn. By the age of 50, 8 out of 10 women become affected by genital warts at least once in their lifetime.
Genital warts can appear on:
- The penis of men
- Around the anus
- Inside the vagina
- Upper thighs
Treatment for genital warts can be painful and leaves scars. The most preferred way of treating genital warts is letting them go on their own or the application of topical creams or ointments to warts. If genital warts become painful or patients have a history of diseases like diabetes or compromised immune system, surgical options may be preferred.
The symptoms of genital warts include:
- Lumps or growth around the vagina, penis, anus, or upper thighs.
- Mild pain, itching, or bleeding around the anus or vagina.
- Any internal growths
- Changes to the flow of urine.
- Brown, pink, or flesh-colored swellings in or around the genital area.
- A cauliflower-shaped cluster of several growths in the genitals.
- Bleeding during intercourse
Like other wart types, genital warts are also caused by the human papillomavirus. More than 40 strains of HPV are present that may cause genital warts.
As known, the apparent risk factor of genital warts is sexual contact with the infected person. The following risk factors may increase the chances of genital warts:
- Unprotected sex with multiple partners
- History of sexually transmitted diseases
- Immunocompromised patients
- Having sex from a young age
- Having sex with someone whose sexual history is unknown to you.
As genital warts are troublesome, their complications can become serious. The complications of genital warts include:
As your cervix is near the genital area, severe genital warts may affect your cervical area, leading to cancer. Some types of HPV causing genital warts can also lead to penis, anus, vulva, throat, or mouth cancers.
Rarely, but warts can cause problems during pregnancy. They can enlarge, leading to difficulty in urination. Warts may cause problems in childbirth. For example, inhibition of the contraction of the vaginal wall during childbirth. With that, warts can lead to bleeding of the vagina upon stretching during labor.
This is extremely rare, but babies can develop warts in their throats if their mother had genital warts during pregnancy. Those warts in babies can block the airways, which may need surgical removal.
The prevention of genital warts include:
- Preventing sexual activity with a person having genital warts.
- Limiting the number of sexual partners.
- Using a condom during sex
- Getting vaccinated.
- Sexually-active females should get their pap smear test done for the early diagnosis and prevention of cancers related to genital warts.