Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It may appear as a skin-colored bump or cauliflower. They can be as small as a pinhead or as large as an egg. The most frequently involved areas are the vulva in women (roughly the part seen when looking from the outside of the female genital organ), the breech circumference, the vagina and the cervix; in men, it is the penis, scrotum and breech circumference.
Genital warts are caused by a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). There are many types of HPV. However, not all HPV causes genital warts. HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, anus and penis. It should be noted that HPV infection does not always result in cancer.
How are genital warts transmitted?
Genital warts are sexually transmitted. The only way to completely prevent genital warts is to not have sexual intercourse at all. Sometimes warts may not appear for years after being infected with the virus. For this reason, the fact that you do not see warts in your partner does not mean that they are not infected with the HPV virus.
What are the symptoms of genital warts?
Small skin-colored or dark-colored bump in the genital area
Some warts can come together and take the appearance of cauliflower.
Itching or discomfort in the genital area
bleeding during sexual intercourse
What are the risk factors for genital warts?
Having unprotected sex with multiple partners
Having another sexually transmitted disease
Having sexual intercourse with an unknown person
Being sexually active at a young age
What are the complications of genital warts?
The most important known complication of genital warts is cervical cancer. For this reason, it is recommended that women have a regular pap smear (swabs taken from the cervix) test. Other than that, some types can cause cancer of the anus, penis and vulva.
Genital warts can also cause some problems during pregnancy. Genital warts can grow during pregnancy. Warts on the vaginal wall may prevent stretching of the vaginal tissues during delivery. A rare but important complication is that the warts in the mother infect the baby’s throat and block the airways.
How can genital warts be treated?
About 30% of genital warts can heal spontaneously.
Even with treatment, the virus may not be completely eliminated from the body. Therefore, it may recur after treatment.
Warts can be treated with rubbing drugs that patients will use themselves or applied by a doctor.
It can be destroyed by the freezing method using liquid nitrogen gas, called cryotherapy.
It can be treated with electrocautery or an electric current, which is popularly called burning.
It can be surgically cut and removed.
Laser therapy, which is an expensive method, can also be tried in those who do not respond to treatment or are very common.
It should be noted that no matter which method is used, warts are a recurrent disease.
What precautions can be taken for genital warts?
HPV is transmitted by skin contact. However, the use of condoms in every sexual intercourse significantly reduces the risk of HPV transmission.
It is recommended to interrupt sexual intercourse until treatment is completed.
Vaccination: Currently, there are 2 different vaccines for HPV on the market. Gardasil and Cervarix. The difference of Gardasil is that it is also effective against HPV viruses that cause genital warts the most. Gardasil is approved for boys and girls and Cervarix is approved for girls only. Both vaccines are given in 3 doses.