How are genital warts diagnosed and treated?
Maharani Devi Medical Center
Kalyan nagar, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
What are genital warts?
Genital warts) or Condyloma acuminata are a sexually transmitted infection that causes small, pink or skin-colored growths around or inside the anus or on the labia, at the opening of the vagina. In the USA, genital warts are the most frequent sexually transmitted infection. More women have warts than men, although warts affect both genders.
Causes of Genital warts
The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes Genital warts. There are over hundred different kinds of HPV, which can cause various types of problems. The prime cause of warts is caused due to HPV types 6 and 11 are, and the prime causes of cervical cancer is due to types 16 and 18 are. The wart-creating strains of HPV do not normally cause cancer.
HPV circulates by direct skin-to-skin contact, including oral sex, anal sex, and any other contact involving the genital area or sexual intercourse, (eg, hand-to-genital touch). By touching a toilet seat, it is not possible to become infected with HPV. A lot of people with the virus do not have noticeable warts but can still carry the virus. Treating warts may not reduce the chance of spreading the virus. Therefore, all individuals who are sexually functional should be considered as possible sources of HPV, not just those with noticeable warts.
After being exposed to the virus, warts may appear weeks to a year or more; it is not generally possible to know how or when you became infected.
Symptoms of Genital warts:
Warts are pink or skin-colored, and raised or flat with a rough texture or may be smooth. They are generally detected on the labia or at the opening of the vagina, but can also be inside or around the anus.
Many women with warts do not have any symptoms at all. Less often, there may be tenderness, burning, itching or in the genital area.
Diagnosis of genital warts
Genital warts are detected based on an exam. If your doctor or nurse is not sure that the area is a wart, he or she may remove a small piece of tissue that is conducting a biopsy.
Treatment of genital warts
There are many methods to treat genital warts: some involve a procedure and some involve a medicine. It is possible that warts will come back within a few weeks or months, even with treatment. This is because treating warts does not certainly get rid of the entire virus (HPV) causing warts. Some cells in the ordinary-looking vagina and genital skin may remain infected with HPV. Presently there is no treatment that will invariably get rid of HPV in all infected cells, but within 2 years, many people will clear the virus and warts with their own immune systems.
The "best" treatment for warts relies on how many warts you have, where they are situated, and you and your doctor or nurse's priority. Warts do not necessarily need to be treated, especially if they are not irritating.
Medical treatments involve liquids or creams that you or your nurse or doctor must smear the wart. All of these treatments must be used one or more times every week for many weeks until the wart(s) goes away.
Prevention of genital warts
2 vaccines, Gardasil and Gardasil 9, are handy for the elimination of genital warts. Gardasil helps prevent infection from 4 types of HPV (types 6, 11, 16, and 18), and Gardasil 9 adds 5 additional types of HPV prevention. These vaccines will aid prevent most cases of genital warts (caused by HPV 6 and 11) and cervical cancer (caused by HPV 16, 18, and the other 5 HPV types).
Another vaccine, Cervarix, helps prevent infection from 2 types of HPV (types 16 and 18), thus it helps to prevent most cases of cervical cancer, but not genital warts.
All of these vaccines are safe.
Sexual contact — shunning people who have genital warts or HPV can decrease your risk of becoming infected with HPV. However, from a practical point of view, this is tough, as many people are infected with HPV and do not have any visible warts. Areas not covered by the condom can spread HPV from one person to another; condoms do not provide complete protection against warts or HPV.
If you have genital warts or HPV and you are concerned about infecting your sex partner, have a candid talk before you have sex. Clarify that you have HPV and that it is very frequent and a lot of people are without any symptoms of illness. There is no test for detecting for HPV on the vulva. There is a test to find HPV on the cervix, but this does not scan for the type of HPV that causes vulvar warts. Cervical HPV and vulvar HPV are generally different.