Warts Types Genital

Genital warts, or condylomas, are white or skin-colored bumps occurring in the genital area. They can be small or large, and can grow individually, in groups or clump together into something resembling a cauliflower.

Men and women can develop genital warts all around the genital area. In men, genital warts are usually found on the:

  • Groin
  • Penis
  • Scrotum
  • Thigh.

In women, genital warts are most often found on the:

  • Anus
  • Cervix
  • Vagina
  • Vulva.

Depending on their location, genital warts may be very hard to see. Genital warts can also cause symptoms, such as:

  • Burning
  • General discomfort
  • Itching.

The HPV/Genital Warts Connection

Like all warts, genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Researchers have identified more than 100 different strains of HPV, 40 of which can be spread through sexual contact.

Genital warts are spread by direct skin contact with someone infected with HPV, usually during vaginal, oral or anal sex. However, even after infection with HPV, genital warts won’t necessarily appear right away. It could take weeks or months before genital warts appear—if at all.

Frequency of Genital Warts

If you’ve recently discovered genital warts, or if a doctor found them during a physical exam, keep in mind that you’re hardly alone. Estimates for the number of people currently infected with genital warts range from 20 to 24 million.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least half of all sexually active men and women will have a genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. But, most of them will never even know it; of all people infected with genital HPV, genital warts will develop in only 5 percent.

HPV, Genital Warts and Cancer

Scientists have discovered a relationship between certain HPV strains and cancer. However, the HPV strains most closely linked to cervical cancer (“high-risk strains”) are not those that usually cause genital warts (“low-risk strains”).

Whether women have genital warts or not, doctors recommend regular Pap tests to check for changes on the cervix.

Genital Warts Treatment

Genital warts can sometimes go away on their own, although HPV may still be present after the genital warts disappear. Most people’s immune systems are strong enough to drive the HPV completely from the body in 1 to 2 years.

However, you should not attempt genital wart removal by yourself. Over-the-counter remedies used for other kinds of warts are not intended for genital warts treatment. Fortunately, physicians have a number of genital warts treatment options at their disposal, including:

  • Cryotherapy, or freezing the genital warts
  • Genital wart cream, like Podophyllin and Podofilox, administered in the doctor’s office or at home
  • Interferon, an anti-viral drug
  • Surgery, with an electric current or laser.

Resources

McCutchan, J.A. (2008). Genital warts. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from: http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec14/ch194/ch194d.html.

McKinley Health Center. (2005). Genital warts. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/genital_warts.html.

Warts Information Center. (2010). Genital warts. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from: http://www.warts.org/genital-warts.html.

Women’s Health.gov. (n.d.). Human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital warts. Retrieved April 28, 2010, from: http://womenshealth.gov/faq/human-papillomavirus.cfm.