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One of the most common forms of sexually transmitted infection is genital warts. At some point during their lives, almost all sexually active individuals will become infected with at least one form of human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts. Genital warts impact the genital area's moist tissues. They may look like tiny, flesh-colored bumps or have an appearance like a cauliflower. The warts are too tiny to be visible in many situations. Genital warts can be caused by certain strains of genital HPV, while others can cause cancer. Vaccines may help to protect against some genital HPV strains.

Genital Warts Infection

Genital Warts Infection

Image Source: Health Line

Genital Warts Symptoms

In women, the vulva, the walls of the vagina, the region between the external genitals and the anus, the anal canal, and the cervix can cause genital warts to develop. They can happen on the tip or shaft of the penis, the scrotum, or the anus in men. In the mouth or throat of an individual who has had oral sexual contact with an infected individual, genital warts can also develop.

The symptoms and signs of genital warts include:

  • Thin, flesh-colored, brown or pink swellings in your genital region
  • A cauliflower-like form formed close together by several warts
  • Itching in your genital region or pain
  • Intercourse bleeding

It is possible for genital warts to be so tiny and smooth as to be invisible. In rare cases, however, in someone with a suppressed immune system, genital warts may multiply into large clusters.

When To See a Physician?

If you or your partner develop bumps or warts in the genital region, see a doctor.

Moreover, it is important to see a doctor in the following scenarios:

  • If you have burning pain or if you bleed during sex or urination
  • If you have an abnormal discharge from your penis or vagina
  • If your partner has some of the symptoms or is diagnosed with genital warts
  • if your child has genital warts

Genital Warts Causes

Warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 40 HPV strains affecting the genital region. Via sexual touch, genital warts are almost always spread. For you to spread the infection to your sexual partner, your warts do not have to be noticeable.

Once you have contracted the virus which causes warts, it can lie dormant for a long time. Genital warts symptoms usually appear when your immune system is weakened, for example because you are stressed, ill or undergoing a medical treatment.

Risk factors

At some time, most people who are sexually involved get infected with genital HPV. Factors that can raise the likelihood that you will become infected include:

  • Having unprotected intercourse with different individuals
  • Having sex with a partner whose sexual past you are not familiar with
  • Being sexually active at a young age
  • Having a compromised immune system, for example from HIV or organ transplant drugs

Complications In Genital Warts

Complications from HPV infection may include:

  • Cancer - Cervical cancer has been closely associated with HPV infection of the genitals. Cancers of the vulva, anus, penis, mouth and throat are also associated with some forms of HPV. HPV infection does not always lead to cancer, but it is important for women, especially those who have been infected with higher risk types of HPV, to have frequent Pap tests.
  • Issues during pregnancy - Warts will rarely become swollen during pregnancy, making it difficult to urinate. During childbirth, warts on the vaginal wall may prevent stretching of vaginal tissues. During delivery, large warts on the vulva or in the vagina will bleed when stretched. A baby born to a mother with genital warts grows warts in the throat very rarely. To prevent the airway from being blocked, the baby might need surgery.

Genital Warts Treatment And Prevention

Preventing genital warts can be done by taking the right steps and proper care.

  • It will help keep you from having genital warts by restricting the number of sexual partners and being vaccinated. It's a safe idea to use a condom any time you have sex, but it won't necessarily shield you from genital warts.
  • Another way  to prevent this health condition is by getting a vaccine. HPV vaccines known as Gardasil and Gardasil 9 can help prevent both men and women from the most common HPV strains that are a cause of genital warts.

How is Genital Warts Treated?

Genital warts can be treated, but it cannot be cured. You're removing the warts, but you'll still have the virus that causes them. The virus may go away at some point on its own, but there's no way to know for sure.

As HPV itself can linger in your skin cells, you may have several outbreaks of the health problem over time. Hence, managing symptoms is important to avoid transmitting the virus to others. Having said that, genital warts can be passed on to others without the presence of any visible warts or other symptoms.

When it comes to the treatment, your doctor may prescribe medications that might include:

  • podophyllin and podofilox (Condylox)
  • imiquimod (Aldara)
  • trichloroacetic acid, or TCA

Conclusion

Genetic warts are a normal and treatable complication of infection. Over time, they can vanish, but care is crucial to avoid their return and potential complications. Speak to your doctor if you think you've got genital warts. They will decide if you have warts and what are the best choices for treatment. Moreover, talking to your sexual partner is necessary. This may sound hard, but being honest about your condition will help protect your partner from infection with HPV and genital warts as well. Genital Warts are a part of preventive health benefits provided with various health insurance plans.

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