It is not a pleasant feeling when you become aware that there are strange protrusions of flesh in your genital region. To begin with, you might only notice one or two little bumps, but if you are very unlucky, these can multiply and spread and before long you have a whole crop of warty growths on your penis or vagina. So what do you do if you think you have genital warts?
Genital warts are caused by a strain of the HPV virus-the same virus that causes warts and verucas on other parts of the body. Most people become infected with warts through sexual contact. Although using a condom or other barrier method of contraception can reduce your risk of infection, you can still be infected with genital warts via protected sex.
My partner has no symptoms – how can I have genital warts?
You can normally expect the first warts to appear between two and four weeks after sexual contact with an infected person, but it is possible to be infected with the HPV virus and not show any symptoms-as many as 50% of all infected people never develop genital warts. It is also possible to have been infected with the virus many months or even years previously, but never have shown any symptoms until now as the virus does not always show itself until your immune system is low.
I have a few little bumps on my genitals – how do I know if they are genital warts?
We all have small lumps and bumps on our skin from time to time and they are not necessarily anything sinister. Blocked pores and small spots come and go and are perfectly normal, but unlike spots or blocked pores, genital warts are painless. [Please note: if you have anything that resembles a blister containing clear fluid, as opposed to a painless wart on your genitals, please visit your local STD clinic or doctor as you could be infected with genital herpes]
Warts caused by the HPV virus are usually the same color as your natural skin tone. You might only have one or two small warts, or you could have a whole crop of warts in one place. In men, warts typically appear on the scrotum or shaft of the penis; in women, warts can appear on the upper thigh, vulva, and sometimes inside the vagina. In both men and women, warts can also appear around the anus. Warts can be flat in appearance, or slightly raised and bumpy. In severe cases they can resemble large cauliflower-like growths, but this is rare.
How can I be certain I have genital warts?
The best way to make a firm diagnosis that the small protrusions you can feel or see are genital warts is to soak a cotton pad or paper towel in acetic acid or white vinegar (they are essentially the same), cover the warty growths, and leave for around ten or twenty minutes: warts will show up as white patches.
It looks like I have genital warts – what should I do now?
Once you are certain you have genital warts, you have two choices: either you leave the warts alone and wait for your body’s immune response to deal with the virus-eventually the warts will disappear but it could take up to a year for this to happen; or you apply a wart treatment.
What are the treatments for warts on the genitals?
There are lots of methods of treating warts on the genitals. If you choose to seek medical help for the problem, you will either be given a wart dissolving cream containing Imiquimod or Podophyllotoxin, or the warts will be removed by freezing them. In extreme or recurrent cases, surgery or laser treatment is also an option.
Are there any home treatments I can try?
Lots of people prefer not to seek professional help for their warts as they are too ashamed or embarrassed. Instead they try home remedies to remove the warts, and in many cases, such treatments are very effective. Home remedies for genital warts include the application of apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, or other natural ingredients to the wart. You can also try over the counter home freezing kits containing liquid nitrogen to remove the warts. However, if you have warts in an extremely sensitive area, you must seek medical advice rather than attempting to remove the warts at home.
Source by Rachelle Le Monnier