Home  |  Genital Warts  |  Symptoms  |  Causes  |  Diagnosis  |  Prevention  |  Curable?  |  Cryotherapy  |  Pregnancy  |  Articles

wpf44c368b.png
The White Paper

Copyright © 2008 - 2012  www.WartsHealth.com. All Rights Reserved.

Glossary  A-F  G-I  J-P  Q-Z     Site Map

 

 

AAD
CDC
Mayo

 

What are Genital Warts?

 

Genital warts, which are also known as “venereal warts”, are a highly contagious disease that is transmitted sexually. The disease is caused by various forms of human papillomavirus (HPV). 90 percent of all cases of genital warts are caused by types 6 and 11 of HPV. Most of the people who get these two strains never develop any symptoms and visible warts. HPV may also cause cervical cancer. Around 70 percent of cervical cancer cases result from types 16 and 18. The strains, however, of HPV that bring about genital warts are not related to the ones that cause cervical cancer.

 

Genital warts are small cauliflower-shaped bumps that are flesh-colored. They are often as tiny as 2 millimeters in diameter, but they can grow in clusters and expand into large masses in the genital region.

 

In women, genital warts grow on the inside and outside of the vagina, cervix, uterus, and around the anus. Although the chances of contracting genital warts are almost the same for women and men, the symptoms may be not as apparent in the men.

 

In men, genital warts are usually found on the tip of the penis. They may also develop on the scrotum, on the shaft of the penis, and around the anus.

 

Genital warts may also form in the mouth and throat of individuals who have engaged in oral sex with a contaminated partner.

 

HPV is able to penetrate a person’s mucosal surfaces and skin through the small abrasions in the genital region during sexual intercourse. Once the cells are attacked by HPV, there may be a latency or rest period of a few months to several years. This means that the HPV is just undergoing an incubation phase. It doesn’t mean that having sex with a person whose HPV is in incubation saves you from becoming infected. In fact, the HPV virus can persist from 3 to 24 months without showing any symptom. This makes it difficult to track down the source of the disease and also increases the number of HPV carriers.

 

Genital warts can easily be diagnosed by medical practitioners through direct visual examination. This involves a thorough observation of the thighs and the pelvic region, as well as the mouth and throat areas. But because genital warts are similar to other skin conditions in appearance, there may be some cases of misdiagnosis.

 

Hirsuties papillaris genitalis, which is also known as “pearly penile papules (PPP)”, is commonly confused for genital warts in males. It is, however, not contagious. Treatment is also not necessary, though some may opt for methods to get rid of it because it is unsightly and slight uncomfortable. Molluscum contagiosum (MC), which is a viral skin infection that appears as small dome-shaped lesions that are usually flesh-colored, should also not be mistaken for genital warts.

 

In adults, MC is often transmitted through intercourse and develops on the lower abdomen, inner thighs, genital area, and buttocks. Genital warts should also not be mixed up with Fordyce’s spots, which are tiny, painless, pale lumps on the labia or penis shaft. These spots are merely of cosmetic concern and are non-contagious.  

 

 

Next: Are Genital Warts Curable?

What are Genital Warts