Genital Warts is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Genital warts are spread by sexual contact.
Symptoms occur 3 to 4 months after sexual contact with an infected person and may include:
- Soft flat irregular shaped growths, usually flesh colored
- You may notice the warts on the vagina, vulva, penis, scrotum, anus, rectum, mouth or throat, depending on the type of sexual contact that was involved
- Warts are usually painless but as they enlarge and multiply they can cause discomfort
- Genital exam and visual inspection
- The doctor may use a solution of acetic acid (vinegar) to the suspicious areas in order to see the wart better. The acetic acid causes the wart to turn a whitish color, making them easier to visualize.
Different treatments exist for genital warts, depending on the size and number of warts that you have and may include:
- Surgery to remove the warts
- Topical creams and medications
- The HPV virus remains in the body forever, so the warts may recur after treatment.
Once diagnosed, you must tell all sexual partners so they may also be tested and treated. Some forms of the HPV virus can cause cervical cancer in women and routine pap smears are recommended.
- Avoid sexual intercourse until treatment is complete
- Use condoms
- Limit the number of sexual partners