Mediclinic Al Sufouh

Knowledge Village - Dubai

Mediclinic Dubal Mall

Fashion Avenue - Dubai

Genital Warts

genital warts

Table of Contents

Overview

Genital warts are viral sexually transmitted disease (STDs).

They look like soft growths pink in colour or flesh-coloured, pearly bumps (typical is cauliflower-like appearance). Warts can be single or multiple with various sizes, from millimetres to 1 cm. They grow on the gland, penile shaft, scrotum, and pubic area. In many cases, the warts are too small to be visible.

Genital warts generally appear one to eight months following viral exposure. Usually, they cause few symptoms like pain or discomfort, but for most are painful.

Some strains of genital HPV, the molluscum contagiosum and herpes virus can cause genital warts. HPV infection is especially dangerous for women because some types can cause cancer of the cervix and vulva. Warts do not have to be visible to spread the infection to the sexual partner.

Symptoms

The transmission occurs during sexual activity. They can become visible to the naked eye only after several weeks or months. They may be very small. The top of the growths may look like cauliflower or being umbilicated in the middle. They may occur as a cluster of warts, or just a single wart. Rarely, however, they can multiply into large clusters, in someone with a suppressed immune system.

Genital warts on males may appear in the following areas:

  • penis
  • scrotum
  • groin
  • thighs
  • inside or around the anus

For females, these warts may appear:

  • inside of the vagina or anus
  • outside of the vagina or anus
  • on the cervix

Genital warts may also appear on the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat of a person who has had oral sexual contact with a person who has HPV.

In females, warts cannot be seen, and they may still cause symptoms, such as:

  • vaginal discharge
  • itching
  • bleeding
  • burning

If genital warts become enlarged, the condition can be uncomfortable or even painful and they can bleed during and after intercourse.

Treatment

To get rid of genital warts we can use some creams that have to be spread over the affected skin. While multiple applications are needed, the results are not always curative, and the side effects can cause skin ulcers. Laser, cryo-ablation, or electro-cautery are effective treatments for HPV and molluscus contagiosum. However, the surveillance after treatment can early detect the recurrences. In fact, often the eradication needs more than one session. We treat herpes lesions differently. Physical or chemical destruction does not work like for the herpes virus. We use antiviral agents in creams and tablets to treat the outbreak and recurrences. Long term oral treatment is useful to prevent recurrences.

External resources

Genital HPV Infection – Fact Sheet – American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention