Genital Warts: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Overview

Genital warts are one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infection caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). They are usually pink and project out from the surface of the skin. Usually they cause few symptoms, but sometimes they can be painful. Generally, they last one to eight months following exposure. Warts are the most easily recognized symptom of genital HPV infection.

Genital warts are more common in women. About 1% of people in America have genital warts. Without vaccination nearly all sexually active people will get certain type of HPV at one point in their lives

Causes & Risk Factors

HPV can cause warts, and there are over 40 different strains of HPV that specifically affect the genital area. It mainly spread through sexual contact. Genital warts can also develop through oral sex. In most cases, your immune system can kill HPV and you never develop signs or symptoms of the infection.

Other risk factors may include:

  • Have unprotected sex with partners.
  • Becoming sexually active at a young age.
  • Have a history of another sexually transmitted infection.
  • Have many sexual partners.

Symptoms

Genital warts usually appear within months after having sexual contact with person with the HPV types that cause genital warts. In some cases, warts appear in just days or weeks, while others may not have any symptoms of genital warts until years later. In addition, some people may get HPV but never get genital warts.

In women, genital warts can grow:

  • on the vulva, cervix, or groin.
  • on the walls of the vagina.
  • In or around the anus.
  • On the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat (rare).

In men, genital warts can grow:

  • On the penis.
  • On the scrotum, thigh, or groin.
  • In or around the anus.
  • On the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat (rare).

The symptoms of genital warts include:

  • Small, flesh-colored or gray swellings in the genital area.
  • Several warts close together that take on a cauliflower-like shape.
  • Itching or discomfort in your genital area.
  • Bleeding with intercourse.

Diagnosis

Doctors usually diagnose the genital warts from the symptoms and the following tests results:

Treatment

There is no cure for HPV, but genital warts sometimes can go away on their own. Doctors may prescribe some medications to relieve the symptoms.

Medications

Please remember that don’t use over-the-counter medicines. These medicines may cause even more pain and irritation.

Surgery

If your warts are large or do not respond to medications, doctors may recommend surgery options, including:

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy). You may need repeated cryotherapy treatments. The main side effects include pain and swelling.
  • Electrocautery. You may have some pain and swelling after the procedure.
  • Surgical excision.
  • Laser treatments. This can be expensive and is usually reserved for very extensive and tough-to-treat warts. Side effects may mainly include scarring and pain.

Home Remedies

Some tips may be helpful to relieve the symptoms.

  • Keep a balanced diet.
  • Use tea tree oil and garlic.
  • Drink apple cider vinegar and green tea.
  • Supplement folate and B-12.
  • Avoid drinking too much.

Prevention

Some options can lower the risk of getting HPV or genital warts.

  • Get the HPV vaccine.
  • Use condoms.
  • Limit your number of sex partners.
  • Avoid douching.

Please consult your doctors for your specific treatment.


Keywords: genital warts; human papillomavirus; HPV.

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Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments

What are HPVs Causing Genital Warts and Cervical Cancer?

How to Treat Genital Pimples Naturally?

Are Warts Contagious?

What are the Different Types of Warts?

What are Differences between Moles and Warts?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.