Cause and Effects
Genital Warts on Women and Men
Genital warts, a product of human papillomavirus (HPV), are among the most common sexually transmitted diseases. In women they develop both inside and outside of the vagina, cervix, and uterus and around the anus. In men they are found on the penis, scrotum and anus area, sometimes spreading to the thighs. It is possible for genital warts to manifest in the mouth and throat areas as well, although this is not as common as genital warts.
Of the more than 100 strains of HPV, about 30 of them are connected to infections of the genital area and more than 50 percent of sexually active adults are infected with genital HPV - although not all manifest symptoms. It is the low-risk type of HPV which cause genital warts, especially types HP6 and HP11. Because of the absence of symptoms, they are difficult to detect and many people are carriers of the virus without being aware of it. The risk of transmission becomes much greater as a result of this fact.
Most frequently, genital warts are transmitted through sexual contact - vaginal, oral or anal. They can also be transmitted to an infant during the birthing process and the baby may develop laryngeal papillomatosis (warts in the mouth and throat) as a result of its mother having genital warts.
Risk factors for contracting HPV and genital warts increase with early sexual activity, having multiple sexual partners, having other STDs in the past and having sex with someone whose sexual history is unknown. Oral contraceptives increase the chances of getting HPV because of the increase of unprotected sex. Excessiveness in drinking, stress, and smoking also increase the risks of genital warts, as does having a compromised immune system.
From Weeks to Years
The symptoms of genital warts may appear anywhere from a few weeks to a few years after infection. It is prudent to have screening done for HPV in order to know whether you have it, especially since it does not always exhibit symptoms. Guesswork and waiting only serve to exacerbate the situation. It's always best to be sure.
Condylomata Acuminate and Its Symptoms
The main cause of genital warts is a type of HPV called condylomata acuminate. Even if neither you nor your partner has genital warts, either or both of you may be in the incubation stage. Along with the actual presence of the red, pink or gray-colored cauliflower-shaped lesions in the genital area, there are other symptoms which can indicate HPV infection.
An increase in moisture or dampness in the genital region as well as an increase in vaginal fluid excretion is a cause for suspicion. Pain and bleeding during and/or after intercourse can indicate the presence of vaginal warts inside the vagina and cervix. On a man, there may be little bumps on the penis. Often mistaken for a rash, the symptom of itching and discomfort in the area is also a sign of infection. Burning in the genital and anal area is a very painful sign of genital wart infection.
There is no cure for HPV, but there are effective treatments for genital warts.