What Is Genital Warts? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Genital warts develop as a symptom of infection with the human papillomavirus.

Genital warts, medically known as condyloma acuminata, are soft, moist specimens that are usually pink or fleshy tones.

They can also be picked, flat or cabbage-like in shape (if they grow in clusters).

These spots, sometimes called anogenital warts, can appear in the genital and anal areas.

In women, genital warts can grow inside or outside the vagina and anus, the surrounding areas and the cervix inside the body.

In men, they can also appear inside or outside the anus, on the penis or scrotum, in or around the urethra.

In both men and women, condyloma acuminata can develop in the mouth and throat, and also on the tongue and lips.

Causes of Genital Warts

Genital warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Human papilloma virus is not a single virus, but a group of more than 150 related viruses. Each of these has a designated number, or HPV type.

About 90% of genital warts are caused by HPV 6 and HPV 11.

Other types of HPV can cause warts on other parts of the body.

If you have sex with someone who has HPV, you may get genital warts, even if they have no infection or other symptoms.

Although genetic warts inside the anus affect people who have had anal sex while using it, they can also be found in men and women who have no history of anal sex.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

In the United States, an estimated 500,000 to 1 million new patients are diagnosed each year, according to a 2012 survey in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

But other estimates indicate fewer cases of genital warts.

According to a 2013 report in the American Journal of Public Health, the prevalence of genital warts between boys and men aged 15 to 39 increased significantly in the United States, but remained stable in 2010.

The prevalence of genital warts in women of different age groups has increased and decreased in recent years.

But overall, there has been a decrease in girls and women between the ages of 15 and 24, possibly due to the HPV vaccine, the study noted.

You are at increased risk of genetic warts growing and spreading if you:

Are pregnant
Are under pressure and have another viral infection, such as herpes
Weaken the immune system with medications and other health conditions, including diabetes and HIV / AIDS
Use tobacco or drink alcohol
Have sex at an early age, or have unprotected sex with multiple partners
There is another sexually transmitted disease.

HPV and Cancer

For many years – sometimes decades – permanent HPV infection can cause cancer.

In fact, according to the CDC, HPV causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. Also linked to viral infections:

91% of cancers
75% of vaginal cancers
72% of cancers in the back of the throat (including the tongue and tonsils)
69% of vulvar cancers
63% of pyelonephritis
Although the CDC notes links in these cases, estimates do not necessarily mean that HPV caused these cancers.

The CDC says many of these cancers are also linked to tobacco and alcohol use.

Importantly, the types of HPV that cause genital warts are different from the types that cause cancer.

If you have genital warts, you should get tested for the above types of cancer, as you can get cancer-causing forms in addition to HPV 6 or 11.

Genital Warts Symptoms and Diagnosis

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States due to genital warts. Most people with HPV do not know they are infected, and can only detect if they produce genital warts.

Genetic attacks sometimes show up only years after contracting the virus, but you can pass the virus on to other people during the symptom-free period. In both men and women, genital warts can occur not only relatively, but also on the lips and tongue, and inside the mouth and throat. Cracks are usually painless, but some people experience pain and itching. Your doctor can diagnose genetic warts during a physical examination.

Treatment and Medication Options for Genital Warts

There is no cure for genetic warts, but if the body fights HPV, they can sometimes go away on their own. They can last or grow in size or number. You will need to see a doctor if you have genetic strains that are causing discomfort, or if you want them to go away. There are many different types of medicines to use. Some of these medications need to be applied to the doctor’s office to make sure they are used properly, and some can be applied at home. Many surgical procedures, such as cretotherapy or electrotherapy, can also remove genetic warts.

Sexual Health Resources

If you are sexually active, it is important to make yourself aware of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In addition to the resources listed here, many city and state agencies as well as colleges and universities offer programs that provide information and treatment for STDs. Most are free or low cost.

What Is Genital Warts?
What Is Genital Warts?

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