What You Should Know About Genital Warts

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What Are Genital Warts?

Condyloma acuminata are more commonly known as “genital warts.” They are a sexually transmitted infection or STI that causes small, soft, fleshy growths to form on the genital region. Genital warts are diagnosed more than any other STI in the United States.

What Can Cause Genital Warts?

All warts are caused by HPV, not just genital warts. So, HPV and genital warts are not synonymous. Specific types of human papillomavirus or HPV do cause genital warts. Then, an affected person can infect others with the virus. Out of more than 100 types of HPV, there are two main subtypes that cause genital warts-HPV types 6 and 11. It can be spread through anal sex, oral sex, touch, and sexual intercourse. 

Genital Warts by Gender

Men can develop genital warts on the penis, the anus, the rectum, and the scrotum. Women can develop genital warts on the vagina, the cervix, the vulva, the rectum, and the anus. People can also develop genital warts on their throat, tongue, mouth, and lips if they have oral sex with an infected individual.

Who Might Contract Genital Warts?

Both men and women are equally susceptible to contracting genital warts. On average, patients are most likely to be in their late teenage years and in their 20s. This is the main population of the 400,000 people diagnosed with genital warts every year. Since genital warts may reach skin that condoms do not cover, protected sex can still spread the STI. 

Symptoms of Genital Warts

Genital warts can lead to discomfort, a burning sensation, and mild bleeding – especially with trauma. They may also cause genital irritation. 

Having warts might be stigmatizing, socially embarrassing, and even lead to low self-esteem. Relationships might suffer if causality is questioned.

Warts may take up to six months to appear after contact with an infected person. Therefore, you may have HPV, but you might not necessarily have any visible warts yet. When the warts do begin to form, it could be just one, or it could be dozens. 

Shaving hair might inadvertently lead to self-inoculation and ultimately the spread of warts.

How Does Your Doctor Diagnose Genital Warts?

It is routine for a Dermatologist to diagnose genital warts by visual examination alone. If your provider suspects the lesion is something else, he or she might perform a skin biopsy.

A woman may also have genital warts in the vagina, and this requires a more extensive examination performed by a gynecologist. HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, so a female patient will be required to have a pap smear to see if there are any cervical changes due to HPV. Some specialists might use anoscopy to inspect for rectal warts.

How to Check for Genital Warts?

Genital warts should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. You will want to make an appointment with us at HMGS Dermatology. Ignoring them could lead to more serious complications.

Our dedicated team of board-certified professionals is passionate about helping improve your skin health, relieve your symptoms, and prevent the spread of genital warts. To schedule an appointment, click our Book Online option, use the purple KLARA messenger button, or call one of our three convenient locations.