Genital Warts Information
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What are Genital Warts?
Genital Warts are one of many versions of the HPV virus. The good news is that they are from one of the most harmless strains meaning that the warts have almost no chance of causing cancer. The bad news is that the warts are very visible and can be embarrassing. The CDC estimates that 1% of sexually active adults in the US have genital warts at a given time. According to aad.org HPV types 6 and 11 cause warts on the genitals.
How are Genital Warts Transmitted or Spread?
The most common method of transmission is via unprotected genital contact meaning anal or vaginal sex without the use of a condom. This being said, Genital Warts are spread from infected skin to skin contact so anything is possible.
An individual who hasn't had a breakout in quite some time, or ever, can be completely unaware that they're passing the virus along, but the chances of spreading the virus when the warts are exposed is greatly increased. If you currently have Genital Warts and have not had a breakout in quite a while, be aware that you can always pass the virus on and it is your responsibility to alert your partner to the possibility.
- When do they show up?
When do Genital Warts show up? - Warts tend to show up when your immune system is lower than usual. Many individuals will have their initial outbreak which signifies to them that they are infected. They then treat the warts and they subside for 1 week, 1 years or possibly forever, there is no telling. Others will be unable to control the warts and the issue will either continuously worsen or remain constant. Commonly, Genital Warts subside over time and you may not have another outbreak for years. Keeping your immune system balanaced and your health in check will help to decrease the frequency of your outbreaks.
Genital Wart Symptoms
The symptoms for Genital Warts are fairly telling: the formation of bumps in the infected genital area. These bumps are generally the same color as your flesh and may be any number of shapes and sizes including taking on a cauliflower shape. They can appear on the groin, penis, thigh, anus, and/or scrotum of men and the vulva, in the vagina, on the cervix, on the outside of the vagina, and/or the anus on women. Each person's body handles the infection differently some people may have constant breakouts, some may have only one, some may have only a few warts and some may have large clustered groups.
These bumps are commonly referred to as skin-tags and can range in size from as small as a pinhead to a common pencil eraser size. They look like bits of extra skin, and they do not have much a difference appearance compared to your standard mole minus discoloration and a raised surface.
Because of their intimate placement these warts are difficult to keep clean and may become infected if untreated. Some genital warts have been known to itch and bleed, as well as cause pain that makes urination, bowel movements, and intercourse too uncomfortable to be performed properly.
How to Prevent Genital Warts
There is a vaccine available for women that is supposed to prevent against the HPV strain that causes Genital Warts. However, the best way to prevent infection is to abstain from sexual contact. Should you choose to engage in sexual intercourse, always insist on wearing a condom or be sure your partner is wearing one to avoid contact with infected genitals. Be aware: a condom may not cover everywhere a partner may be potentially have the infection..
Abstinence is the best way to prevent the transmission of any sexually transmitted disease. If you are sexually active, condoms are a helpful preventative measure if used correctly each time. The risk of infection for any STD, including Scabies, is significantly lowered if you both you and your partner have been tested, and are only having sex with each other. People who engage in risky sexual behavior, or have sex with people they don't know very well, are at a much greater risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases. People who regularly use drugs and alcohol are at a higher risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including Scabies, because they are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.
Please read more about STD transmission and prevention here.
How to Treat or Cure Genital Warts?
Genital Warts can be treated using medications such as creams or oral tablets. Sometimes, they can fade away on their own however, this does not mean the infection is gone as there is no cure for HPV and you should never have unprotected sex with a partner unaware of the risk. Common Treatments Include Cryogenics (Freezing Them Off) Skin Cell Growth Cream (most common form Aldera)
What should I expect from my doctor?
Your doctor may choose to visually examine the area. Usually during an outbreak he or she will be able to quickly identify the bumps as genital warts in addition he or she may lance a sample to send to a laboratory for a test to confirm the diagnosis and discuss methods of treatment with you.
Options: In the office, your doctor can user a laser, freezing, or the use of a scalpel to excise the warts. Your doctor may also choose to use a weak acid, or administer Interferon injections. These options are generally what your doctor will offer for you.
Out of the office, there's a Podofilex gel or Imiquimod cream. Both help the body fight the HPV infection off aad.org suggests that Imiquimod has the best chance of lowering reoccurance.