Genital warts (sometimes called condylomata acuminata or venereal warts) are single or multiple bumps that appear in the genital areas of men and women including the vagina, cervix, penis, and rectum. Like warts that appear on other areas of your skin, genital warts are caused by a virus called HPV.
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HPV is the virus that causes common warts and genital warts. The virus infects the top layers of your skin. Many people infected with HPV have no symptoms and no warts, but they are still contagious.
They are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or (rarely) oral sex with someone who is infected.
Genital warts can be treated, and probably cured in some cases. A “cure” means that the virus is gone. There is no reliable way to determine whether or not the HPV virus is gone. Treatments are effective at getting rid of the visible warts, but the virus may persist in the skin, and cause new warts to develop months or years later.
If you or your sexual partner has warts that are visible in the genital area, you should avoid any sexual contact until the warts are treated. Condoms may reduce the risk of spread. Be aware that people with no visible warts may be infected with the HPV virus (they may not even be aware themselves that they have it) and spread it to you.
Most HPV infections that cause genital warts will go away on their own, taking anywhere from a few months to two years. But even if your genital warts disappear without treatment, you may still have the virus. When left untreated, genital warts can grow very large and in big clusters.
There are several options for the treatment of genital warts. Often, prescription home treatments will be combined with office treatments and several treatment sessions may be necessary:
Some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer. Other types are associated with anal cancer, and cancer of the penis (a rare cancer).
There is no reason to be embarrassed about this very common medical condition, however we respect your concerns. You will be treated with sensitivity and respect for your privacy by Dr. Minars. No one else, including the staff, will learn about your condition. Women may request a female nurse to be present in the room during treatment, and men (or women) may request no one to be present other than the doctor.
There are no effective treatments for genital warts available without prescription, including those advertised on the internet. Do not try to treat genital warts with over-the-counter medications, which aren’t intended for use in the genital area. Doing so can cause even more pain and irritation. In addition, you must visit a physician to be examined and tested for other sexually transmitted diseases. Please do not allow fear to delay your treatment, because everything is easier to treat when caught early.
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