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Genital Warts – Warts Treatment & Symptoms

Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).  While many people who have the virus do not go on to develop any symptoms those who do usually experience small, soft flesh coloured growths around the genitals and anus.  Infection with HPV is very common in all ranges with up to 50% of the population infected with the virus.  However only a small number of people (around 1%) show any visible symptoms such as warts.  As HPV and the warts it can cause are associated with a number of cancers early identification and treatment is essential.

Symptoms of HPV

Most people infected with the human papillomavirus display no symptoms and may even be unaware that they are infected.  In the majority of case the body’s immune system is able to deal with the infection and it is cleared from the body within a couple of years.  For people who do develop signs of HPV they take the form of warts that appear on the genital regions and in some cases around the mouth and throat.  Warts can appear single or in groups and clusters and can be small, large and either raised or flat.  Warts may not appear until months after contact with an infected sexual partner.

Cervical cancer can be hard to detect and symptoms may not appear until it is at an advanced stage.  Genital warts in women have been linked to both cervical cancer and cervical dysplasia and regular pap smears are recommended for all sexually active women.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting genital warts.  Factors that can increase the risk are unprotected sex, multiple partners, stress and viral infections.  Using a condom can help to protect against genital warts however as the HPV virus can spread through skin to skin contact it cannot be relied upon for complete protection.

Treatments

Although there is no treatment for the virus that causes genital warts the warts themselves can be treated in a number of different ways.  The exact treatment proscribed will depend on how many warts there are and where they are located.  There are a number of medicines that can be proscribed that can be applied to the warts to prevent them from growing and boost the body’s immune system and help it to beat the virus.

In addition there are a number of surgical procedures that can be performed to remove warts.  Cryosurgery is used to freeze warts and prevent them from growing back.  They can also be cut off, destroyed with an electric current or destroyed with laser surgery.  While the warts may be removed the virus that causes them will remain and can lead to further outbreaks.

While warts are a common problem they are also an embarrassing one that many people choose to ignore.  By seeking the appropriate treatment you can help to prevent the spread of the virus and is always recommended.

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