Genital warts are benign skin growths, most often caused by HPV. This virus is transmitted sexually from one person to another. Individuals can also carry the virus without having warts themselves. Regular use of condoms, and inoculation against HPV greatly decreases the chance of infection.
Only certain types of HPV cause genital warts. Other types might lead to development of cancer in the cervix, rectum, oral cavity, on the penis, or vulva.
How can one become infected with genital warts?
- The most common way of transmitting HPV is by sexual activities, but there are other ways of transmission, too.
- Most people’s immune system can eradicate the disease on its own.
- Only some of the infected individuals have genital warts.
- Anybody can have genital warts who has a sexual life.
- The HPV types responsible for genital warts are transmitted by contact with the affected skin and mucous membrane. This contact can be vaginal, oral, or anal sex, or even by touch.
- Several weeks, months, or even years might pass between getting infected and the development of the genital warts. The virus might be present within the skin of the individual even without the genital warts. This makes it difficult to establish the time and origin of the infection.
- After the treatment, new warts might appear, even without being infected again
- Transmission of HPV is more likely if the genital warts are present, but it can also be transmitted during an asymptomatic period.
What kind of examination is needed in case of genital warts?
- If you suspect that you had contact with a patient with genital warts, or if you notice these symptoms on yourself, visit an STD specialist to have yourself examined!
How can genital warts be treated?
- Genital warts rarely disappear without an intervention. They have to be removed.
- The aim of the treatment is to remove the skin growths, not to get rid of the infection
- Several types of treatment exist. Some of them are done at a clinic, while others can be done at home. The latter types are longer-term and side effects might occur, such as inflammation.
- Genital warts might reappear after the treatment.