What are genital warts?

Genital warts are skin growths found in the genital area. They can be transmitted by sexual contact and are considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
 

What causes genital warts?

Genital Warts are caused by infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
 

How do I prevent genital warts?

The only sure way to prevent genital warts to to avoid sex (including oral sex) before marriage and to avoid any skin to skin contact with someones genital area. Once you are married, if you and your spouse are both faithful to each other and do not enter the marriage relationship with genital warts it is impossible to acquire this disease. Therefore saving sex until marriage and marrying a faithful partner who was not previously exposed to genital warts is the only absolute way to avoid this STD.
 

Can anyone get genital warts?

Genital warts occur in women, men, and children.

  • In women, HPV can infect the cervix, vagina, vulva, urethra or the area around the anus.
  • In men, HPV can infect the penis, scrotum, urethra or the area around the anus.
  • In children, HPV can infect the genital area. There are several ways a child can get genital warts. Any child with genital warts needs to be evaluated by a health professional to determine the cause and to assess for possible sexual abuse.

 

Can you see genital warts?

Active infections can produce warts that are visible to the eye.
 
When the virus is in an early stage, warts appear that can only be seen during a medical examination. This is considered a subclinical infection.
 
Most HPV infections are latent, which means the virus is present but is not actively multiplying or producing any outward signs of its presence. A latent infection has no symptoms or warts present.
 

What symptoms will I have?

Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) usually does not cause any symptoms and does not always produce visible genital warts. When symptoms do develop, they usually occur 2 to 3 months after infection with the virus. However, symptoms have been known to develop from 3 weeks to many years after infection occurs.
 
If warts do develop, they may appear like tiny bunches of cauliflower or like flat, white areas that are very difficult to see. Symptoms that may occur with genital warts include irritation, itching, and bleeding.
 

What increases my risk of getting genital warts?

Risk factors for genital warts includes:

  • Having unprotected sexual or genital contact (not using condoms).
  • Having multiple sex partners or a high-risk partner(s) who has had multiple sex partners or HPV-infected sex partners.
  • Starting sexual activity at a young age (before age 18).
  • Having an impaired immune system

 

Does HPV infection cause only genital warts?

HPV infections in women can cause abnormal changes in cells of the cervix. Women who are infected with HPV are more likely to have an abnormal Pap test. The types of HPV that cause visible warts usually are not the same types that cause abnormal cervical cell changes.
 
HPV infection also can cause cell changes that increase the risk of cervical, anal or rectal cancer. The types of HPV that cause visible warts usually are not the same types that cause precancerous cell changes in the cervix, anal or rectal tissue. Currently, no screening exams or tests are recommended.
 

What is the treatment for genital warts?

Genital warts caused by the most common types of HPV often go away on their own without medical treatment. After you are diagnosed with genital warts, if you do not have symptoms or cosmetic concerns, you may observe your condition without using medical treatment. This is called watchful waiting.
 
Experts disagree on the medical treatment for genital warts because many go away on their own and because treatment does not eliminate the HPV infection.
 
Treatment will depend on:

  • The number of warts and their size and location.
  • Any specific problems the warts are causing.
  • The side effects and costs of treatment.
  • Your health professional's skill in treating warts.
  • Your preferences.

 

If genital warts are treated, will I be cured?

Even if you are treated to remove visible warts, or your warts go away without treatment, the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is not cured and is still present in your body's cells.
 
**Some of above information provided via webmd.

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