Anal & Genital Warts
Genital Warts, Anal Warts and STD’s
Warts are benign cysts or lesions that can occur anywhere on the body. There are over 100 strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), some are completely harmless, and others cause warts on various parts of the body. Common warts of the hands and feet such as plantar warts and hand warts are caused by strains of HPV, as are genital and anal warts. However the same strains are not involved.
Genital and anal warts effect the genitalia of both men and women. Genital and anal warts are spread through sexual contact. In fact HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease there is, affecting as much as almost 30% of the population. Vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or oral intercourse can transmit HPV and genital warts. Genital warts are also sometimes referred to as Venereal Warts. Genital warts can appear on, in, or around the:
Genital warts are very contagious. Two-thirds of persons exposed to genital warts through sexual intercourse with an infected partner will develop genital warts themselves. It can take up to three months for genital warts to develop from the time of contact.
How do I Know if I have Genital Warts?
Only your doctor can properly diagnose genital or anal warts. Most healthcare practitioners can identify genital warts on sight, but a culture will be taken to confirm diagnosis. A physician or other healthcare provider should look at any abnormal growths or lesions in the genital areas. Women who present with genital warts will be given a PAP smear of the cervix to check of the presence of HPV.
As any Sexually Transmitted Disease genital warts can be very hard on a person emotionally. Unfortunately at the present time there is no way to cure or completely eliminate the HPV virus. Once a person is infected the virus remains within the skin, even after the warts disappear. However treatments are available that can remove the genital warts and limit future outbreaks.
Treatments range from topical creams to various procedures used to excise the warts in more severe outbreaks. Your doctor or healthcare professional will discuss the treatment options available, and advise what is best for you. In addition to various methods available to your doctor to physically remove genital warts, there have recently been approved a class of drugs called immune response modifiers that have been shown to be effective. The antiviral drug Interferon has also been used injected directly into genital warts that have returned after excision by other methods.
Abstinence should be practiced when warts are present, but genital or anal warts do not have to be present to transmit HPV. A latex condom can be effective in preventing the transmission of genital warts.
The recently developed HPV vaccine (Gardasil) can be effective against two of the types of HPV known to cause genital warts.
Other Complications of Genital Warts
Genital warts are not only visually unattractive, and sexually transmittable, they can cause other problems as well. It is known that genital warts are caused by HPV. HPV has been linked to increased risk of cervical cancer, as well as cancer of the penis in men. Genital warts can cause a number of difficulties for pregnant women including a narrowing of the birth canal, and possible transference to the baby during delivery.
If you suspect you have genital warts, or have been exposed to genital warts, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional without delay. With early intervention, genital warts and HPV can be treated effectively. A proper regimen of medication and counseling about disease maintenance, can help you learn how to minimize the risks to yourself, and exposure to others and return to normal and happy sex life.