There is a 67% chance of getting Genital Warts if you are having sexual contact with an infected person. Those are steep odds that over half of the American population is facing when becoming sexually active. Genital Warts are due to the HPV 6 and HPV 11 strands of which there are over 150. Only 40 strands are associated to Genital Warts.
Luckily, Genital Warts do not mean cervical cancer because that is an entirely different strand of HPV. However, left untreated Genital Warts can either go away or progress to a worse condition and even could lead to cancer. Popular treatments such as Wartrol are addressed further in the treatment section.
Genital Warts are the most common of warts. They are so common that it is estimated that 500,000 new cases will be diagnosed each year. What is even scarier is that many people with the HPV don’t know they have it, which is the reason behind its rapid reach. Warts on and around the pubic area can spread just as easy as warts on hands and fingers in that all warts are contagious.
So how do you know?
Your doctor, with a visual inspection can diagnose Genital Warts when there are warts present. A screening of HPV can confirm or deny exposure. A normal pelvic exam for women is sufficient enough to make a diagnosis. However, for men without signs of warts, there is no way of knowing if they have the virus since there is no way to test males for the HPV. Although a request to be tested for STDs will most likely still be recommended.
Signs & Symptoms
Often Genital Warts are asymptomatic. Warts can be so small that they are unnoticeable at first. However, for larger warts, they appear as round clusters of bumps that can be grayish brown in color and bumpy to the touch. However, they can be flat also.
Genital Warts, hence the name, appear only in the reproductive region of the body. For women, warts can be on the vagina wall, on the lips of the vagina and in the anus. Men, can have signs of infection on the tip and shaft of the penis as well as in the anus. Both sexes, although rare, can have Genital Warts in the mouth due to oral sex with an infected person.
Itching, pain and bleeding can occur with Genital Warts. Intercourse can be painful also.
Genital Warts Treatment
Treatment for Genital Warts is essential to alleviate symptoms or for cosmetic reasons. Often treatment isn’t necessary because warts can disappear on their own. But for many, waiting for Genital Warts to dissolve isn’t good enough so treatment is sought after for wart removal.
Wartrol is an over the counter topical agent that has shown success with treating Genital Warts. Likewise, there are home remedies that are just as effective but may take longer to yield results. Then there is always the option to have a doctor treat the Genital Warts, which usually consist of freezing or cutting the warts away.
Some home remedies include apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, garlic and onions. These ingredients, you may already have in your home without the need to purchase anything extra.
Apple cider Vinegar
Soak a cotton ball in undiluted vinegar and apply to the wart daily for up to 7-10 days
Tea tree oil
Apply a few drops directly on the warts at least once a day. Warts may turn white and after two weeks will fall off.
Onion & Garlic
Onion and garlic juice are applied the same way, directly on the warts.
Note: With each of these home remedies, a stinging sensation can occur and it is best to cover infected areas with a band-aid after each application.
When it Calls for a Doctor Visit
Some Genital Warts are stubborn and call for measures that are more drastic and a doctor visit may have the solution.
- Laser Treatment for Genital Warts consists of burning off the warts with a beam of light. It can cause scaring and is expensive.
- Electrotherapy is applying electric current to burn off the wart. It too can leave scaring and is expensive.
- Cryotherapy is the most popular method used by doctors to remove warts. This calls for the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the warts, which makes them fall off.
- Last is cutting the warts away with surgery.
The method for Genital Wart treatment that you choose largely depends on personal preference and your budget. No one treatment is better than the next as in each case is different. In many cases, the warts will return or need several attempts to be removed. Several doctor visits can be very expensive. In most cases, three months is the average time for warts to respond to treatment. Hyperpigmentation and scaring may or may not occur depending on the treatment.
Whichever method you choose, if any, it is most important that you know that having Genital Warts does not make you a bad or unclean person. It won’t stop a woman’s ability to become pregnant nor does it indicate signs of infidelity. Most importantly, it is not considered life threatening.