Genital Warts and the Human Papilloma Virus

March 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Genital Warts

Otherwise known as venereal warts (condylomata acuminate), genital warts are some of the most common kind of sexually-transmitted disease (STDs). They inhabit the moist tissue areas of the genitalia. Its appearance could vary from being small to becoming very large clusters. Some may appear like colored flesh bumps similar to cauliflowers. Genital warts should be taken seriously because albeit they are treatable by medications or surgery, enough studies show that they are closely linked to cervical and similar types of cancers.

Genital warts could develop in men and women alike. They could develop on the vulva, the anus, the cervix, the walls of the vagina, the scrotum, the shaft of the penis, or even in the throat or mouth due to oral sexual contact. Aside from the swelling or large clustering of the warts, its signs and symptoms include itching or discomfort at the genital area and bleeding during intercourse. Often though, genital warts show no sign or symptoms at all. Sometimes, they can be very small and flat making them invisible to the naked eye. Pregnant women should also be cautioned that dormant infections could be triggered or worsened by the pregnancy.

The so-called HPV or Human Papilloma virus causes genital warts and infects the outermost part of the skin. Of the over 100 types of HPV, only a few are highly contagious. People whose partners have this condition almost always develop genital warts within a range of 3 months to several years from sexual contact. The risk of having this virus is greater for irresponsible and promiscuous individuals. Unprotected sex, having multiple sexual partners, STDs, and sexual activity at an early age all increase the risk of becoming infected.

Without treatment, some 30% of genital warts simply go away that is why if they aren’t bothering you, treatment may not be necessary. However, some cases do need serious medical actions especially when symptoms include burning, itching, pain, or even emotional distress. Even after treatment though, the virus may still invisibly linger on the skin and sometimes reappear. Thus, some medications advised are as imiquimod (aldara), podophyllin and podofilox (Condylox), and Trichloroacetic acid (TCA).

Over-the-counter medicines should be avoided since they often cause more pain and worsen the irritation when used in the moist tissue areas of the genitals. Some genital warts that don’t go away with medications might need surgery, especially for women whose forthcoming delivery may expose the baby to it upon delivery.

If you feel that you are afflicted with this condition, it is recommended for you to see your medical practitioner. While waiting for the appointment with your doctor, all sexual contacts should be avoided in order to not put your sex partner into further risk of infection. Aside from sexual intercourse, also avoid oral sex or any form of skin contact with the infected genitals. Care to advise your sex partner to consult a physician as well.

Never postpone going to the doctor when bumps or warts develop in the genital areas. It would also be wise to do so when your sex partner develops or is diagnosed with genital warts. It’s always better safe than sorry so if the first signs of genital warts appear, do consult your doctor immediately. This condition is surely nothing to be embarrassed about since it’s your sexual health that is on the line here.