What is Genital Warts?

Genital warts are a frequent sexually transmitted infection observed in the genital or anal area, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The infection spreads through skin-to-skin contact during sex. The warts are found in clusters or separately and usually appear in the genital or anal area.


Genital Warts symptoms

Genital warts in women usually appear on the labia and close to the vaginal entrance. In males they can occur on the penis, although they are most frequently found towards the tip.

Surrounding the anus entrance, warts can appear in both men and women and it can take place without anal sex. Warts associated with oral intercourse can appear in the mouth or throat in both men and women.


When to see a doctor?

One should see the doctor as soon as they experience any genital wart symptoms or learn about their partner's warts. Experiencing itching, burning sensations on the skin of the genital area or pain during sexual activity may also hint at the presence of infection even if you can’t see genital warts.


Causes of Genital Warts

The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes genital warts. They are frequently transmitted by

  • Stool electron microscopy
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR test)
  • Enzyme-linked immunoassay (Elisa test)
  • Latex agglutination test

Many HPV patients are ignorant of their condition. Genital warts can take months or even years to appear after exposure to HPV. Even if you haven't yet started to get warts, one can still spread the virus to other people. Over 100 different HPV strains and 40 of them affect the genitalia.

Cervical cancer can develop due to abnormal cell changes from high-risk HPV strains. For this reason, women should get routine cervical screens to detect any abnormalities in their cervix that, if left untreated, might develop into cancer.


Risk Factor of Genital Warts

Most people who engage in sexual activity eventually get genital HPV infection. One may be more susceptible to getting an infection if:

  • Having a compromised immune system, such as from HIV or drugs from an organ transplant.
  • Having had another sexually transmitted infection
  • Having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
  • Becoming sexually active at a young age.
  • Having sex with a partner whose sexual history you don't know.
  • From infected mother to baby during vaginal delivery.
  • Sharing intimate and personal items.

Complications

Many people with genital warts may not notice any symptoms. However, neglecting to treat genital warts or their symptoms might lead to the followin g issues

  • Cancer: If the treatment of genital warts is delayed or incomplete, high-risk HPV strains may, over time, accumulate and develop cancer at infection sites. Women with genital warts are more likely to get cervical cancer and vulvar, vaginal, or anus malignancies. Prostate cancers in males, which can affect the penis, scrotum, or anus, are more prevalent.
  • Difficulty During Pregnancy: Genital warts can enlarge to the extent that they cause pain during urination and labour by blocking passages and decreasing the vagina's capacity to expand during pregnancy. Warts on the genitalia may bleed when subjected to too much pressure during childbirth.
  • Transmission of infection to child during labour: Rarely, the baby may come into contact with genital warts while going through the vagina during labour. These warts may be in the baby's throat and must be surgically removed to prevent breathing difficulties.
  • Prevention of Genital Warts: Direct skin-to-skin contact during vaginal or anal intercourse is common for genital warts to spread. Even if a person does not exhibit any apparent symptoms, such as warts, or HPV, the virus can still spread to other people. The following preventive measures will help to reduce the possibility of contracting an STI
  • Get the HPV vaccination: The HPV vaccination can help to protect against genital warts and cervical cancer.
  • Use condoms: A condom may reduce the risk of getting genital warts. However, condoms do not cover all the skin area surrounding the genital part. Therefore, there is no guarantee that an infected person will not spread HPV to their partner.
  • Get tested: Make sure you and your partner both take an STI test. Before engaging in sexual activity, discuss the test results with each other.
  • Be monogamous: Monogamy is a good idea since it can reduce the chances of contracting STIs.

Prevention of Genital Warts

Direct skin-to-skin contact during vaginal or anal intercourse is common for genital warts to spread. Even if a person does not exhibit any apparent symptoms, such as warts, or HPV, the virus can still spread to other people. The following preventive measures will help to reduce the possibility of contracting an STI

  • Get the HPV vaccination: Get the HPV vaccination:The HPV vaccination can help to protect against genital warts and cervical cancer.
  • Use condoms: A condom may reduce the risk of getting genital warts. However, condoms do not cover all the skin area surrounding the genital part. Therefore, there is no guarantee that an infected person will not spread HPV to their partner.
  • Get tested: Make sure you and your partner both take an STI test. Before engaging in sexual activity, discuss the test results with each other.
  • Be monogamous: Monogamy is a good idea since it can reduce the chances of contracting STIs.

Diagnosis of Genital Warts

The doctor can diagnose external genital warts by looking at them, but it can be more difficult to diagnose internal warts. The tests done for genital warts diagnosis include

  • Pelvic exam: An exam of the pelvis may include a Pap test to look for cervical alterations brought on by genital warts.
  • Blood tests: The doctor may check for other STDs that are frequently linked to genital warts. Chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhoea are some of these STDs.
  • Anal exam: Anoscope is a tool to examine the anus to check for warts during the anal exam.

Treatment of Genital Warts

Genital warts can be treated and removed, but they sometimes reappear. The infection that causes them has no known cure, but the body may eventually eliminate it. Warts can be removed using various methods and creams and lotions over time. In most cases, genital warts break out and go away on their own.

Occasionally, warts can develop or spread on their own. People shouldn't treat their genitals with medicines that eliminate warts on their hands or feet.

Treatments for genital warts include

  • Topical medication: Applying cream or liquid directly on warts for a few days each week.
  • Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is applied to the region by a doctor during numerous sessions causing blisters to develop around warts that eventually fall off.
  • Electrocautery: After giving local anaesthetic to the patient, a doctor will use electrocautery to remove the wart.
  • Laser treatment: A physician uses an intense light beam to eliminate warts.
  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): In this procedure the healthcare provider uses an electrically charged wire loop to remove warts. This method is also used to remove warts on a woman’s cervix.
  • Surgery: Before removing warts, a surgeon gives a local anaesthetic to the patient. Although the treatments are not unpleasant, they could feel uncomfortable or irritated for a few days.
  • Over-the-counter painkillers: The effectiveness of the medicines might take weeks or even months. The therapies are ineffective for some persons, and others can experience a reappearance of warts.

Genital Warts Dos and Don’ts

The human papillomavirus, also called HPV, is the virus that causes warts, which are elevated skin sores. Although they can affect many body parts, they most frequently affect the fingers, foot, and genitalia. Liquid nitrogen can be used to cure larger warts. There may be a need for laser therapy or surgical removal. Warts frequently recur, requiring further treatment. One might need to consult a dermatologist for removal in some conditions.

Do’s Don’ts
Apply medicines as instructed. Scratch your warts
Use condoms during intercourse Apply the medicine to warts that are bleeding.
Keep follow-up health care provider appointments until all warts are gone Have multiple sex partners
Maintain personal hygiene Skip follow-up appointments
Get tested for other STDs. Eat unhealthy junk, and processed foods.

Genital warts may ultimately go away on their own without treatment, but HPV is still contagious. One may combat the ailment effectively and enhance the quality of life by taking precautions and caring for yourself.


Genital Warts Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover hospitals, we have the best team of gynaecologists and general surgeons who collaborate to deliver the best possible therapy for genital warts. Our highly qualified team addresses a variety of gynaecological disorders and conditions using the most up-to-date medical tools, techniques, and technology. We use a multidisciplinary approach to treat genital warts to give patients comprehensive treatment and address their health requirements for a speedier and more complete recovery.

Citations

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genital-warts/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441884/
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/genital-warts-treatment
https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/sexual-and-reproductive/genital-warts
https://www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/sexual-health/stis/genital-warts-and-hpv
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