Genital Warts - Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Genital Warts
- Genital Warts - Human Papilloma Virus (hpv)
- Genital Warts - Description / Symptoms
- Where Do Genital Warts Develop?
- Genital Warts Treatment
- Genital Warts - Considerations and Complications
- Considerations Relating to Genital Wart Infection
- Complications of Genital Wart Infection
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection caused by a virus, the human papilloma virus (hpv).
Genital warts can be transmitted through vaginal, oral and anal sex.
Rarely, genital warts can be spread by indirect contact, for example, using a towel after someone who is infected.
Around half (50%) of people who have genital warts are unaware that they do, often because the site of infection is deep within the vagina, urethra or rectum and is self contained.
Some strains of the virus which causes genital warts are associated with certain types of cancer.
Although incurable, there are various treatment and management options available such as self-administered solutions, freezing, surgery or laser removal.
Genital warts are caused by a group of viruses called human papilloma virus (HPV).
Of this group of more than 70 types of human papilloma virus (hpv); with virus types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31 and 35 being sexually transmitted.
The strains most commonly involved in sexually transmitted infection are virus types 6 and 11.
Types 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35 are significantly associated with cervical and rectal cancer.
Of the small percentage of people who go on to develop cancer, progression can take anywhere between 5 and 30 years.
Genital warts do not appear until several weeks after infection, typically between 1 - 4 months before they become visible although it can take up to a year before any warts develop.
Generally painless unless irritated by contact, genital warts can be soft, flat and irregularly shaped or they may develop into cauliflower-shaped clusters with an unsightly cosmetic appearance.
Warts may variable in color: red, pink, off-white or gray.
Some genital warts are almost undetectable, particularly if they are very flat and very slow growing.
Genital warts can grow and develop on, or in, several areas of the body:
- on the penis
- inside the penis in the urethra
- inside the vagina
- on the lips of the vulva
- on or around the anus
- inside the rectum
- on the scrotum
- in the mouth
- in the throat
- on the tongue
Genital warts are most effectively treated when they are small and few in number.
Topical solutions the patient may apply themselves include podofilox 0.5% solution, podophyllum and trichloroacetic acid 80 - 90%.
Other forms of treatment for genital warts, depending on the location of the warts and under local anesthetic are:
- cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen)
- electrocautery (burning)
- laser removal (burning)
- surgical excision (surgery)
An infection of genital warts may have significant future implications for some individuals.
In particular, anyone who has experienced vaginal or anal genital wart infection should be aware of the possible future risk of cancerous growth development.
This means regular Pap-smear testing for women who have developed either a vaginal or anal infection, and also men who have acquired an anal wart infection.
Some strains of the human papilloma virus (types 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35) are significantly associated with the development of cervical and rectal cancers.
- Women who are pregnant may pass on the virus to their baby.
- Women who are pregnant should not use podofilox or podophyllum.
- Women who have, or have had, genital warts should seek regular Pap-smear testing.
- Men (or women) who have, or have had, anal warts, should seek regular Pap-smear testing.
- Some strains of the virus which causes genital warts are significantly associated with certain forms of cancer.
- A sudden, strong eruption of genital warts may indicate a compromised immune system. Anyone affected should consult their physician immediately.
- Genital warts, regardless of where they erupt, may ulcerate or become infected.
- Infection of certain areas such as the urethra, anus, rectum or the mouth and throat areas may cause extreme irritation and discomfort.