What Are Genital Warts
March 27th, 2017
Everyone always warns you about sexually transmitted diseases and how difficult they can be to deal with. From middle school on, you hear that you should always be careful about who you choose to sleep with because you can catch something from them. And you really should listen, because one of those sexually transmitted diseases is a painful condition known as genital warts.
What Are They?
Genital warts are just that Ė warts that develop in the genital area, either on or around the anus, vagina or penis. Genital warts are caused by an infection by some types of human papillomavirus, also known as HPV. In fact, the two HPV subtypes that account for nearly 90% of genital wart cases are subtypes 6 and 11. By the time they reach age 50, around 80% of women will have been infected with some form of HPV, but only a few strains will actually cause genital warts. It should be noted, however, that these two strains of HPV, while they do cause genital warts, are considered very low-risk when it comes to cancer development.
For females, the symptoms of genital warts are fairly obvious. Painful warts develop in clusters and spread into large masses of warts all around the genital area. They can develop both outside and inside the vagina. Inside, they occur on the opening to the womb, the cervix. In men, genital warts are typically present on or around the tip of the penis, but they can also develop along the shaft or even on the scrotum. Both males and females may also develop genital warts around the anus. It is even possible Ė although less common Ė for genital warts to develop inside the mouth or throat due to oral sex as well.
How Do You Catch Them?
Genital warts, as an STD, are spread by sexual intercourse. If you have unprotected sex with someone who has HPV, thereís a very high chance they will infect you with it as well. Any type of sexual intercourse, whether itís oral, anal or vaginal presents a risk.
Prevention Is Key
Once you catch HPV, you canít get rid of it. The virus continues to live inside your skin. Thatís why once you develop genital warts there is a chance they will develop again. While there is treatment available for genital warts, all doctors can do is get rid of the warts themselves. Chances are you will have to have the procedures done more than once. Thatís why itís extremely important to always practice safe sex Ė once you catch this particular STD, youíll have to live with it for the rest of your life.