Genital warts happen to be one of the most frequently occurring sexually transmitted infections. At least half of the people who are sexually active may have incurred genital warts at some point of their lives.
Genital warts affect the moist tissue genital areas of a person. Genital warts are tiny, flesh-colored lumps that occur in the genital area and may be too small to be noticeable at times as well.
Just like other warts that occur at other regions of your body, genital warts are caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). Come HPV strains may cause genital warts however, others can also cause cancer. Prevention primarily involves protecting yourself from genital HPV strain with vaccines.
In women, these warts may develop on the vulva, the region between the anus and the external genitals and the walls or the vagina. In men, genital warts may develop on the scrotum, the shaft or tip of the penis, or the anus. Genital warts can also occur in the mouth or throat if the person has oral sex with a person who is infected.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of genital warts include:
- Tiny, flesh-colored lumps in the genital area
- Clusters or warts
- Bleeding during intercourse
- Discomfort or itching in the genital region
Treatment is not necessary if your wart is not causing any discomfort. Often warts are so small that they may not even be noticeable unless they occur in clusters, taking up a cauliflower shape. If you experience symptoms such as discomfort, itching, pain or burning sensation or if the appearance of the genital warts is annoying or causing emotional distress, you can consider medical surgery to clear up the outbreak. However, bear in mind that lesions may occur again after medical treatment.
Try to avoid over-the-counter wart removers for genital warts as these medications are not to be used on the genital area but on other parts of the body. Over-the-counter wart medication may even exacerbate symptoms of wart, thus causing more discomfort, pain and irritation. It is advisable that you practice safe sex and use a condom you have sexual intercourse with your partner in order to reduce your risk or your partner’s risk of incurring the infection.
You can protect yourself from strains of HPV with a vaccine called Gardasil. Gardasil is an effective and important prevention technique as it also protects you against HPV strains that may cause cervical cancer. Cervarix is another vaccine can offers protection against cervical cancer, but it is not intended for genital warts.
It is important that children of 11 and 12 years should get routinely vaccinated with HPV. If your child is not vaccinated fully during this period, girls and women can get vaccinated through the age of 26, and boys and men through 21, but they can receive it at 26 if necessary. The vaccination is most likely to be effective if given to children prior to reaching the age when they become sexually active.