> Genital Warts Treatment
Genital warts are a result of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the
symptoms of which appear on the penis, scrotum as well as the anal
area of males. In females, the virus spreads through the vulva, cervix
and the rectum. In people practicing oral sex, genital warts can also
appear on the mouth and throat, resulting in difficulty in swallowing.
Genital warts vary in color from pink to red or whitish and gray,
are irregularly shaped and generally painless until they become irritated
by contact or sexual intercourse. The irritation may take the form
of itching and burning that may at times be difficult to endure. Discomfort
also increases as the warts increase in size or multiply into broccoli-shaped
clusters and eventually ulcerate. These often bleed and/or give rise
to a foul-smelling discharge. Severe pain during sexual intercourse
for females may indicate genital warts within the vagina.
An estimated twenty million people in the US are infected with
HPV genital warts (also called Condylomata Acuminate or Venereal
Warts) every year while about five and half million are exposed
to the virus during the same period. These warts normally appear
within 3 to 4 months after transmission.
Genital warts in females often remain un-observed as the warts
may stay confined deep within the epithelium of the vulva, urethra
or the rectum, providing very little or no symptoms at all. However,
the infection is fairly common in the age group of 15 – 40,
affecting both sexes, while almost 70% of sexually active people
infected with HPV remain unaware of the disease as the infection
had caused neither any symptom nor an outbreak.
Genital Warts Diagnosis
Diagnosis can be extremely difficult, or impossible, if you are
showing no symptoms. Unfortunately, people who show no symptoms
can spread the virus to a number of people unknowingly. For this
reason, it is very important to tell your partner(s) that you have
been infected. If you do not show symptoms, but have been in intimate
contact with someone who has, or you suspect has, HPV or genital
warts, see your doctor immediately.
For males who do show symptoms, diagnosis will be much easier.
Genital warts look like most other warts. Genital warts in particular
will grow directly on or around the penis in males, and are easy
to detect. They are fleshy growths, usually grey or reddish in color.
They may also appear in or around the anus. There are very few other
viruses or diseases that cause wart like growths – if you
have a wart like growth, you can be quite certain that you have
HPV – the next step is treatment.
For women, diagnosis can be trickier. Genital warts have been misdiagnosed
(by amateurs) as yeast infections. With females, the warts may be
inside the cervix or rectum. Although you cannot see the genital
warts, they will usually cause some pain or discomfort during intercourse.
If you suffer from pain and discomfort during intercourse you should
always see your doctor whether you suspect HPV or not.
Genital Warts Treatment
There is no way to instantly cure genital warts. Your own immune
system will eventually clear the virus DNA from your cells, and
the warts will go away. Therefore, most treatments are based around
relieving the symptoms. To treat genital warts, you have to try
and manage the condition and control the spread of the infection
while treating the symptoms. Genital warts treatment can also be
achieved by both surgical as well as non-surgical means, both of
which may prove futile as the warts are most likely to reappear
even after the removal of present warts.
Prescribed treatments for genital warts vary depending on the doctor
and the severity of the case. In some cases, doctors may prescribe
Imiquimod as a topical cream. Other synthetics include podophyllin
anti-mitotics, pidofilox, fluorouracil creams or trichloroacetic
acids. It is important to remember that podophyllin and pidofilox
should not be used by pregnant women. Interferon-alpha is another
anti viral drug that is rather expensive but can remove a wart that
is unresponsive to other treatments.
Beyond prescription drugs and substances that reduce warts, there
are also surgical avenues. Cryosurgery (freezing and removing the
warts) is very common and is used for various types of warts. Laser
treatment is also used to burn off genital warts as is electrocautery.
It is important to remember that all of these treatments do not
prevent further wart outbreaks – they only treat the warts
that are already present. Until your body clears itself of the virus
with its immune system, warts can reappear at any time.
Genital warts treatment can also be achieved by the administration
of drugs that have been developed using natural and plant extracts.
Though this is a relatively recent development, results have been
positive. Natural remedies, particularly for symptomatic relief,
are gaining popularity largely due to their effectiveness and lack
of side effects. Certain natural herbs and substances have been
all but proven to remove warts and relive the pain of genital warts.
When seeking treatment, always ask your doctor about natural remedies
as opposed to prescriptions or synthetics that can have costly side
effects (literally and figuratively!)
It’s good news that your body will eventually cure your genital
wart outbreaks. In the meantime, please make sure you do not keep
your HPV infection a secret from those you are intimate with. If
you suspect you have genital warts, see a doctor immediately. Only
your doctor will know what treatments you shouldn’t take,
in reference to your medical history. Further, although HPV or genital
warts are relatively easy to self diagnose, there are exceptions
such as hirsuties papillaris genitalis which is quite rare but does
appear as wart like growths. See your doctor, confirm the diagnosis,
notify those you are intimate with and start treatment.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH)
American Academy of Family Physicians
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research