Genital Warts – Must-Know Facts
Genital Warts – Overview
Warts are a skin condition characterized by an abnormal growth of the skin. A wart is a small area of hardened skin with a bumpy surface. These are of different shapes, colors, and sizes. They can appear almost anywhere on the human body. Children usually get them on their face, feet, and hands.
What Do Warts Look Like?
Warts are unsightly. They appear in the form of a bump with a very rough surface. Warts can even be smooth and flat. Tiny blood vessels grow into the wart making it appear like dark dots right at the center. The skin creases and lines over the wart seem to distort. These skin conditions can either appear in groups or alone.
How Do Warts Form?
Almost all the different types of warts may form because of the influence of HPV or Human Papillomavirus. This is a DNA based virus that loves hanging out in those areas that are warm and moist like a shower, pool deck or a sauna. The more people who these areas, the more chances they will have of contracting warts. The virus gets into the body through small skin breaks. However, if warts do not appear on the skin, this does not mean that the virus is not present in the body. When warts grow, they take up space in the upper layers of the skin called the epithelial cells. Warts that are deep into the skin layers might cause more discomfort. A nerve that is irregularly placed near a wart, it might also cause discomfort.
Do Warts Hurt?
A very short answer to this question is, yes, warts hurt. They can be very painful and can prevent an individual from moving around comfortably. However, the good news is that warts will not make you sick or they will not cause any health problems. If you have a wart bothering you to a considerable extent, then you should visit a dermatologist for removal.
What Are Genital Warts and What Do They Look Like?
Warts near or on the genital areas of an individual are called genital warts. These warts occur by HPV or Human Papillomavirus- a group of viruses available in different varieties. There are over 40 different types of HPV that can cause genital warts. A vaccine for individuals between nine and twenty-six years of age is approved for the preventing of HPV infection, which is the cause of the majority of cervical cancers and genital warts.
Genital Wart Symptoms
Some HPV types result in warts that occur on the feet and hands of people. However, genital warts appear near or on the vagina, vulva, anus or cervix in females and near or on the scrotum, anus, and penis in males. If you are wondering what do genital warts look like, then know that they appear flat, raised, large and small. Sometimes, they tend to be grouped up in the form of a cauliflower-like shape. Majority of genital warts and flat and small and therefore they cannot be noticed very easily. Genital warts are painless and flesh-colored, but some people might have bleeding, pain, and itching.
Some Important Facts about Genital Warts
A genital wart is a sexually transmitted disease that can spread very easily through skin contact. It happens when an individual has unprotected vaginal or oral sex. There are different treatment procedures available for genital warts symptoms, and these include burning, topical drugs, freezing off warts, laser treatment and surgery. A minimum of 50% of all non-monogamous, sexually active individuals will be infected with the genital HPV at some point or another in their lives. Most people will not even be aware of this condition because this condition does not have any major symptoms. Making use of condoms can significantly decrease an individual’s chances of contracting genital warts.
Genital Warts and Women
Genital warts can be spotted easily in women. They are visible inside the vagina or the anus or on the cervix within the body and outside the vagina or anus. Symptoms of genital warts in women include dampness in the genital area where the wart is located, vaginal bleeding during intercourse, excessive vaginal discharge and itching in the genital area.
Genital Warts and Men
Genital warts can develop on the penis, scrotum, groin and thigh areas in men. In men, genital warts can also appear around or inside the anus. One common sign of genital warts on men is itching in the genital area. It is always a good idea to consult a doctor at the very first sight of the symptoms of genital warts. The problem needs to be treated before it gets worse.
Genital Warts Can Show Up Years Later
Genital warts usually appear in the months or even a few weeks after an individual has been infected. However, it is possible for this condition to pop up several years afterwards. Another important thing to note about this skin condition is the HPV virus causing this problem cannot be cured. This means that warts can be removed by the use of prescription cream and through freezing, but they can and probably will reappear in the future.
Genital Warts cannot be Detected Very Easily
Genital warts come in different sizes and shapes. A majority of these wart types look like cauliflower, and they are flesh-colored bumps. They are very small, and therefore they cannot be spotted very easily.
It is Important for Pregnant Women to Use Caution
Pregnant women suffering from genital warts might experience warts growing at a very fast pace. This is because of the reduced immune system of pregnant women. Though it is very rare, the condition might also pass on to the baby. The safest method of avoiding pregnancy complications due to a genital wart is freezing it off beforehand.
Condoms Do Not Guarantee Protection
Genital warts appear in areas like the scrotum, vulva and anus. A condom may not provide sufficient coverage for these areas. This means that skin contact “down there” with an infected individual might put you at the risk of contracting the disease. This is regardless of the fact that whether you are having sex or not. However, condoms still need to be used because they have the potential of lowering the risk of STDs in general. But do not consider condoms as bulletproof protectors against genital warts.
HPV Vaccine is Effective
Two strains of HPV can cause genital warts, and they are Type 6 and Type 11. The HPV vaccine is quite effective in protecting individuals from both these strains. However, it is important to note that this vaccine is only recommended for people between 9 and 26 years of age.
Smoking Might Trigger Genital Warts
If you have genital warts, then it is highly recommended to stop smoking immediately or risk further outbreak around the genitals. Smoking suppresses the immune system, causing an individual to lose the ability to fight off the infection.
Oral Sex Might Result in Warts Showing up in Other Places like the Throat
It is true that oral sex has the possibility of causing warts in the throat or the mouth. These warts go unidentified. One of the most important issues regarding HPV and oral sex is that you are increasing the risk of contracting HPV-associated oral cancer. This goes especially for young women.
Genital Warts Are Contagious
Genital warts have the possibility of spreading from one individual to another through sexual contact or even by touching the genitals of an individual. It can also spread through anal and oral sex. They might appear anytime within weeks or months. Sometimes they might be living dormant in the body for a very long time only to show up suddenly in the future.
Genital Warts and Children
If kids suffer from genital warts, then this should be taken as a sign of sexual abuse. Parents should always be aware of this possibility. Nevertheless, HPV can even spread by way of non-sexual contact between a caregiver and a child. This happens when changing a diaper or when giving the child a bath. Children can reinfect themselves by coming into close contact with a wart somewhere else on their own body and then touching their genitals as well.
Not Everyone Infected Is Susceptible to Genital Warts
Not every individual exposed to the genital wart strains of HPV will actually contract genital warts. Perhaps, a majority of people will not ever develop this condition. This is because, in some people, the immune system is strong enough to kill the virus without the individual even knowing that they had the virus in their body. Genital warts and other issues can develop when the HPV virus is not killed off by the immune system.
Immediate Treatment is Necessary
If you do not treat genital warts in a timely manner, they can grow larger and even multiply. Genital warts can disappear on their own without any treatment. However, this does not mean that they should be ignored. Other notable facts about genital warts include:
- They are quite common and can affect around 1 million people annually.
- Genitals warts develop between six weeks and six months post infection. It can take longer to identify the symptoms, though.
How do Genital Warts Develop?
Genitals warts develop when an individual contracts the specific strain of HPV or Human Papillomavirus that exists in more than 70 varieties. It is important to note that some virus types can result in precancerous changes that can occur in the cervix. This can cause cervical or anal cancer. These are high-risk viruses and should not go undiagnosed by a health professional.
Diagnosing Genital Warts
Dermatologists are typically the go-to medical specialists in diagnosing genital warts. When you are at your doctor’s clinic, your doctor will carry out a physical examination. Women need to undergo a pelvic examination. In this type of study, the specialist carefully uses a magnifier for checking the location of genital warts. The HPV strain that causes genital warts might result in nonstandard Pap smear results. Frequent Pap smears might help you in understanding whether you are suffering from genital warts or not.
How to Get Rid of Genital Warts?
It is not easy to get rid of genital warts without trying various treatment procedures. They do not go away on their own and one shoud seek treatment from a specialist. Therefore, it is necessary for you to ensure that you refrain from using OTC medicines of any type for curing genital warts.
Boosting your immune system and other holistic treatment methods for warts are the best treatment method for genital warts, hands-down. Other home remedies for genital warts include consistent application of natural oils that do not irritate the tender skin associated with these areas of the body.
Doctors might use skin treatment and prescription medicines at their clinic to help individuals get rid of genital warts. They can even remove warts through surgery. Essential surgeries for genital warts removal include surgical excision, laser therapy, electrocauterization, and cryosurgery.
Preventing Genital Warts
Genital warts are preventable simply by taking effective precautions when having sex. This includes knowing the sexual history of your sexual partner and using condoms. You must always have in mind that there is no treatment for genital warts. Therefore a little caution is the only method that can save you from this condition. You can get a vaccination as a protection against the HPV strains causing genital warts. It is also important to keep in mind that genital warts can be avoided by having sex with just one disease-free partner.
Having a genital wart is an embarrassing skin condition. It is unsightly, and it might also be painful. Therefore, patients should aim at getting rid of this condition immediately. If genital warts do not receive treatment for a very long time, they might get worse causing further complications. Know the essential facts associated with genital warts, contact a doctor if you suspect the condition and use protection. Only having a clear idea of the symptoms of this condition can help you in detecting it early on and in getting the right treatment.