The only way to diagnose and treat genital warts is through an examination or biopsy. A tissue from the genital area is tested and looked into for any infection. The doctors will test the area to check if it is a wart or a lesion. A Pap test is also taken to examine this area. If it turns out to be abnormal, it can be screened for a viral infection or a precancerous condition.
Do I have Genital Warts?
This type of disease in the medical field is referred to the term Condyloma acuminate, also known as genital warts. There are 100 types of this virus and approximately 40 of them can infect the genital area.
When this infection is diagnosed, and it may not be obvious at first, there will be a cream colored cluster of small spots or a series of lesions in the area of the genitals in both women and men that can be noticed. This is the HPV or Human Papilloma Virus; a genital virus that is sexually transmitted.
Common warts are not the same since they only infect the skin in other places of the body. HPV-16 alone is 50% the cause in cervical cancer in women whereas HPV-18, HPV-31 and HPV-45 together are accounted for 80% of all cervical cancer in women. On the other hand HPV-6 and HPV-11 are “low risk” possible cancer causing viruses.
This highly contagious virus can affect patients, men and woman equally, at any age, but mostly between the ages of 17 to 33 years. A single contact with an infected person is enough to catch HPV.
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Both men and women have the same symptoms. The size of the warts may be less than one millimeter to several square centimeters. There is a lot of itching, but genital warts in themselves are not painful, and there may be some discharge.
Specifically in men the area of the penis, scrotum, rectum and urethra is where the warts appear. They are soft and raised and some are fingerlike, rough or pearly and grey colored.
In women genital warts are in moist areas of the vaginal opening and lesions can be visible in the cervix or rectal area. There really are no symptoms although some women may experience blood after intercourse and a vaginal discharge with some itching.
In-Home Self Care
Since there are no symptoms for genital warts, although small lesions on the skin can be detected, the patient must be cautious by preventing trauma to the infected area which could result in bleeding, therefore avoid squeezing or touching the warts.
One of the most important things to remember for the prevention of contracting this disease is to always use condoms and to never have unprotected coitus. The use of male or female condoms may also prevent transmitting the infection to your partner.
Medications do exist for genital warts such as Podofilox which is an in-home topically applied cream; more effective than Podophyllum resin, which is often used as a genital wart prevention cream.
Some reports of recurrences of the warts are higher when using Trichloroacetic Acid; a solution which often causes burning and pain after application on the infection.
Efudex also known as 5-Fluorouracil is a cream that needs to be applied on the infected area long-term and causes some burning. Aldara another name for Imiquimod is a new cream which causes some irritation to the affected area.
Behavior of Genital Warts
Warts have an unpredictable behavior in the genital area. They can disappear on their own, enlarge, or turn into a clusters of warts. Anytime you suspect a wart, you must immediately get it examined at a healthcare unit by professional doctors. Pregnant women, especially, should take extra precautions should they suspect a genital wart. The medication for warts is likely to cause birth defects in the new born in pregnant women.
Over The Counter Medicines
These are not the kind of warts that can be treated with over the counter medicines. The area around the genitals is sensitive compared to the skin on the rest of the body. Prescribed lotions or drugs must be applied to these warts. These medicines usually contain trichloroacetic acid that kills the virus in the warts and treats them. The imiquimod is a cream that increases the immunity of the body to fight the HPV virus of the genital warts.
Prevention of Genital Warts
Using condoms and practicing safe intercourse is the best way to prevent genital warts. Yet another way to prevent them is through abstinence. Since, the presence of warts do not produce any symptoms, most of the people are unaware that they are spreading warts through unsafe intercourse. Vaccines like Cervarix can be taken by women to immunize the risk of cervical cancer that is spread by the HPV virus.
Freezing Warts And Using Topical Creams
You should always try to keep the genital areas clean. It is not a good idea to wash this area with toiletries as it can remove the good bacteria inside the genitals. When warts appear, topical creams can be used to completely remove the warts. Freezing warts can be done under medical supervision. Though, this is a painful activity, it is an effective measure to stop the warts from spreading inside this area.
This is a liquid drug that can be applied onto the wart twice or thrice a day to treat it. This should not be used by pregnant woman. Mild irritation can be felt in the area where the wart is treated when this liquid is applied.
Other Therapies To Cure Genital Warts
As long as there exists genital warts, avoid having coitus. You can also use the cryotherapy, laser therapy, and electro surgery if the cluster of warts is large and is expanding. There is no evidence that warts lead to cervical cancer. Though, treating warts is essential, this is the myth most of the patients feel anxious about.
Don’t Ignore Personal Hygiene!
Most of the people ignore genital hygiene. The fabric choice for the undergarments used also adds to the genital hygiene. Cotton fabric is the most suitable even in the event of warts. Avoid wearing essentials in fabrics that do not absorb moisture or sweat. Keep the genital area clean by washing them with liquid soaps designed specifically for them.