What Are Genital Warts?
- Genital warts are also called venereal warts or condylomata acuminate.
- Genital warts are one of the most common kinds of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) or STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
- According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, a genital wart is “a contagious projecting warty growth on the external genitals or at the anus, consisting of fibrous overgrowths covered by thickened epithelium showing koilocytosis, due to sexual contact with infection by human papillomavirus; it is usually benign, although malignant change has been reported, associated with particular types of the virus.”
- Genital warts are an infection of the skin of the genital and anal area, as well as the lining (mucous membranes) of the vagina, cervix and rectum.
What Causes Genital Warts?
- Genital warts, like other non-STD warts, are caused by various types of the human papilloma virus (HPV) that infect the top layers of the skin.
- There are over 100 different types of HPV that can cause warts, but only a small number of strains can cause genital warts. Those that do are highly contagious and are passed on through sexual contact with a person who is infected. (HPV types 6 and 11 cause the majority of genital warts.)
Genital Warts Symptoms
Symptoms of Genital Warts may occur several weeks to months after being exposed to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and include:
- Itching or burning around the sex organs
- Painless growths in either sex usually on damp or moist surfaces of the body beginning as tiny, soft pink or red spots
- Spots develop into small, white/yellow/gray bumpy warts on the sex organs and anus
- Warts can grow quickly into irregularly shaped cauliflower-like masses
Genital Warts In Women
Vaginal sex may lead to warts:
- on the cervix
- on the opening (cervix) to the womb (uterus)
- on the outside and inside of the vagina
- on the vulva
Most women recover from HPV infections with no health problems at all and many women will develop a natural immunity against different types of HPVs.
- It is still not known why some women can develop:
- Cervical cancer
- Long-term HPV infection
- Pre-cancerous abnormal cell changes
Genital Warts in Men
In men Genital warts are less common, however, warts can occur on the:
- Scrotum (the sac that holds the testicles)
- Tip or shaft of the penis
- The longer HPV warts are allowed to grow, the more persistent they become and untreated genital warts can eventually spread, grow, and multiply into large clusters causing health complications
- Sometimes people who are infected with HPV do not develop the warts for many years
- See Pictures of Genital Warts Here.