Genital warts are sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the human papillomavirus
(HPV). They appear as tiny cauliflower-shaped bumps that are grey or flesh-colored.
They usually develop on the genital and anal area. The symptoms of genital warts
may not appear for as short as a few weeks to as long as several months so it is
very hard to determine whether or not you are a carrier of the virus. The best way
to find out is to consult your doctor so that he/she can make the proper diagnosis
and recommend the best treatment plan for your case.
Before making a diagnosis of genital warts, the medical practitioner will usually
ask you several questions regarding the symptoms you are currently experiencing,
your medical and sexual history, other medical problems that you may have, and what
medications you are taking.
The doctor will then do a physical test in order to spot the signs and symptoms of
genital warts, which can be easily detected through a direct visual examination.
This involves a thorough observation of the pelvic region, genital areas, and the
thighs. The doctor will also examine your mouth and tongue areas for any appearance
of warts. To the naked eye, genital warts may look like flesh-colored flat or raised
lesions on the skin. The warts may be small or large and are found in clumps.
However, not all genital warts can be easily seen. Thus, doctors may use some solutions
in order to verify their presence. A three to five percent acetic acid solution (i.e.
white vinegar) is usually applied on the penis, labia, cervix, and around the anus
in order to check for the presence of unnoticeable genital warts. These warts will
then turn white as the ascetic acid solution comes into contact with them. However
the presence of white spots does not always mean that the patient has genital warts.
The test may also turn positive for other medical conditions, such as psoriasis,
yeast infections, and lichen planus.
Aside from a direct visual examination, your doctor may also recommend a Pap smear
if you’re a woman. During a Pap smear, your doctor will scrape some cells from your
uterine cervix. These cells are then thoroughly examined for any abnormalities. If
the doctor detects an abnormality, he/she will recommend that you undergo further
tests to determine its exact root.
The doctor may also do another test called a colposcopy. During colposcopy, the doctor
uses a special lighted magnifying device in order to have a better look at your vagina,
cervix, and vulva and to check for any signs and symptoms of genital warts. Moreover,
some cases may warrant a biopsy. This involves removing a small tissue sample from
the cervix and examining it using a microscope.
Before making a final diagnosis, the doctor will also do other tests that will rule
out other similar-looking infections like herpes, skin tag, seborrheic keratoses,
and pearly penile papules, among others.
The key to fighting genital warts is early detection and immediate treatment. As
with other health conditions, the chances of successfully treating it increase if
it is dealt with in its earlier stages.