Genitals warts are one of those things that you simply do not speak of in public and likely don’t even think about unless your doctor brings up the subject. Genital warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which just happens to be closely linked as the cause of many cases of cervical cancer as well as other types of cancer in the genitals. This virus is transmitted sexually so you have to have had direct sexual contact with someone infected and not everyone shows signs of genital warts.
It is so important to trade sexual histories with potential partners so as to avoid contracting any sexually transmitted disease (STD) like genital warts. In addition, protective sex with a condom is also paramount in avoiding the HPV virus. However, not everyone knows they have these warts and could inadvertently pass along the infection to you, so you should know the signs of genital warts in case they ever happen to you.
Typically, it could take as long as a month for signs of genital warts to appear after being exposed to HPV, although sometimes it may take much longer. Most genital warts are not painful, but they can produce an itchy sensation, especially when clothing rubs on them. Just like warts on a finger or toe, these genital warts could have a rough texture and cauliflower-like appearance. In addition, some warts have been completely flat while others may be almost invisible, only detectable by a doctor.
For men, signs of genital warts may occur in various places in the genital area such as the penis, urethra and rectum. In actuality, these warts could be inside the urethra or even underneath the foreskin of the penis. In females, signs of genital warts may appear near the rectum, near the urethra, inside the vagina or even on the lips of the vulva. In both men and women, other signs of genital warts include discolored swelling at the wart sites and even painful intercourse with or without abnormal bleeding. The invisible warts may cause general itching which you may not attribute to genital warts because they may either look like an innocuous bump or just a small rough patch of skin. Therefore, only a doctor can truly determine whether or not you have the warts by conducting a skin test.
There are a number of both surgical and topical treatments for genital warts and while these won’t totally eradicate the virus that causes them, you can find some relief. You and your doctor together can determine the best course of treatment based on the signs of genital warts that you exhibit.
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