Genital warts are said to be soft and fleshy growths found in the anal or genital area. They are common sexually transmitted infections or STI that occur due to the human papillomavirus (HPV). Genital warts can appear around the anus, penis or scrotum of a man or cervix, vulva and vagina of a woman. These may cause discomfort, pain and itching and can be risky for women since some types may cause cancer of the vulva and cervix.
Risk factors for genital warts:
Genital warts are common for people who:
- Are below 30 years.
- Have weak immune system.
- Have a past history of child abuse.
- Are children of a mother and had the virus at the time of childbirth.
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How to treat genital warts:
The treatment for genital warts helps to get rid of visible warts so that the affected area looks better. The natural immunity of the body will help to lessen the virus for most people. You need to talk to the doctor before undergoing the treatment since over-the-counter medication may not be suitable for genital warts. Different treatment options consist of the following:
- Cryotherapy – The warts are usually frozen off with dry ice or liquid nitrogen and thus, various treatments may be needed.
- Podophyllotoxin – The lotion is very effective on different warts that can be accessed easily. You may apply this lotion at home, however, pregnant women should not use it.
- Imiquimod cream – This cream can be applied once in a day and three times in a week for almost three months. However, this treatment cannot be done during pregnancy.
- Diathermy or laser treatment – This can be done for larger warts or when other treatments are not effective. Diathermy or laser treatment can be administered in the hospital under general anaesthetic. However, this method will not remove the virus completely.
How to prevent genital warts:
HPV vaccines can help to protect both men and women from HPV strains that may be the reason for genital warts. There is a vaccine known as Cervarix that protects against cervical cancer, however, they cannot provide safety for genital warts.
Individuals who are above 26 can get this HPV vaccine. It may be given at 9 years only and is available in three different shots. Both of these vaccines are given before the person gets sexually active since they are very effective before a person is highly exposed to HPV.
Make sure you use condoms every time you want to enjoy sex with your partner as this can lessen the risks of getting warts.