What Are Genital Warts?
Genital warts are a fairly common sexually transmitted infection, affecting both men and women, alike. Genital warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV. They present as asymptomatic or slightly itching small, skin-colored to pink/brown bumps in the genital area.
What is HPV?
HPV, is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases around the world today. This is likely due to the fact that they are usually asymptomatic and can be quite small and easily missed. Also, many carriers do not exhibit any symptoms at all, making prevention quite difficult as it is easily spread through sexual contact.
HPV has many different strains. Many of the common genital warts are not precancerous strains, however certain strains can be, and can lead to squamous cell carcinoma on the skin, cervical cancer, or cancers affecting the anus, rectum and oral cavity. Often, these warts will come and go on their own – however, there are also a number of methods of wart removal that we may recommend.
- Small bumps along the genital area.
- Itchiness in multiple areas, including the genitals.
How Do Genital Warts Spread?
Individuals with genital warts can usually see the warts, however there are other conditions that can mimic them. Patients will see small, circular, sometimes reddish/brown bumps on or along the genital region. If an individual believes they may have genital warts they should immediately schedule an appointment with their dermatologist, as genital warts are very contagious.
The most common method of transmission of genital warts is through sexual contact. Vaginal, anal, as well as oral sex can all spread genital warts. Individuals who are infected and presenting symptoms should take precautions before engaging in unprotected (and even protected) sexual activity, ask your dermatologist for more information on vaccines, forms of sexual protection and other preventative measures. Refrain from shaving if you may have genital warts as that will increase the risk of spreading.
Treatment for Genital Warts
Unfortunately, HPV is not curable as of yet. Treatment consists mainly of destructive methods such as freezing or cautery, usually in conjunction with topical creams applied directly onto the affected area. Once we conduct a careful and thorough examination of your warts, we will determine the best course of treatment depending on a number of different factors.
As always, prevention is always preferred. A discussion with your primary care physician about the risks and benefits of the HPV vaccine is recommended.
For more information on genital warts or other issues, be sure to contact Nova Dermatology today.