Genital warts or condylomata acuminala is a very common sexually transmitted disease, which can be found in genital and anal area (internal and external) in both men and women of any age, but women are considered to be more amenable to it than men. Sometimes genital warts can be found in children younger than 4 years old and are thought to be passed on by nonsexual way, although this may be a sign of a sexual abuse of a child also. It is represented by gray or dark-purple growths and usually caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). There are various types of human papillomavirus (more than a 100) that can infect top layers of the skin, but only few of them can cause genital warts. These are HPV-6, HPV-11, HPV-16, and HPV-18 types.
Genital warts are highly contagious and, as it was said previously, can be passed on through sexual contact with an infected partner even if he or she doesn’t have any obvious symptoms of the disease. Usually it takes more than three months for the visible signs of infection to be shown, so it is extremely important to be very careful with choosing a sexual partner and durable sexual connections are preferred. The risk to develop genital warts after a single sexual contact with a partner who has HPv-caused warts is approximately 65%.
Risk factors for the disease are:
sexual contact without the use of barrier protection
multiple sexual partners
sexual activity at a young age
stress and other viral infection at the same time
To avoid the risk of being infected – avoid previously listed practice and schedule routine physical exams under the professional doctors’ supervision. It is strongly recommended to have regular Papanicolaou tests also referred to as Pap smears to detect the disease at early stage. Pap smears test is considered to be the most effective and trustworthy test for HPV. While pap smears tests cannot detect specific sexually transmitted infections, such as genital warts, they can identify signs by distinguishing abnormal cells from normal ones.
If genital warts are not treated for a long time, they may produce some serious complications such as pregnancy problems and even genital, cervical, anal, head, neck, and oral cancer. Sometimes genital warts can cause pains while urinating and discomfort during sexual activity and itching.
There are different methods of treatment for genital warts. They can be divided in three types – medical, surgical and pharmacological. The first, medical method include prophylaxis measures, such as condoms during sexual intercourse and single sexual partner. Surgical method is used when the disease developed into a launched degree and requires urgent medical interference. It is provided under the local anesthesia and involves special techniques, such as freezing, burning, cauterzation and laser surgery. Treatment of genital warts with pharmalogical method involves applying specific medications to the affected tissues and injecting antiviral medications directly into the tumors growth. The disadvantage of this kind of treatment is in toxic influence that can be provided by those medications and even chemical burns if not washed throughly.
There is a chance that genital warts can go away on their own, but the causative agent can still remain in human body and later can lead to the escalation of the problem into a serious disease accomponied with complications. This is why routine medical exams will help you to protect yourself from a serious disease causing discomfort and to increase your chances for giving birth to healthy children without pathology.