Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that often occurs due to infection by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 6 and 11. They feel like tiny bumps on the surface of the skin and might be inflamed and painful when touched in some people.
This STD, which is asymptomatic in nature, at times requires medical treatment, vaccination and occassionally surgery for the removal of warts and to ease the irritation caused by it. Genital warts may occur in men as well as women, irrespective of their age, with almost similar symptoms. However, in women the severity of these symptoms is comparatively more than the symptoms experienced by men.
Sign And Symptoms In Men:
- Male affected by genital warts may feel or experience tiny bump like small flat pimples or rash on the skin near the genital area such as penis. These bumps may grow in cluster looking like the top of a cauliflower around groin or on the penis, inside urethera, thighs, scrotum and in and around anus.
- At times, one or two warts may first appear on the skin as a grey swelling and then they multiply. These warts are soft to touch.
- At times warts are not visible to the naked eyes but may be present inside anus. Tests for genital warts may help in detecting the hidden warts on the skin and proper medication can help in treating them.
- Both gays and bisexuals may develop warts in their mouth after having unprotected oral sex with an infected person.
- Soreness of penis is also one of the symptoms of HPV infection causing genital warts.
- Genital warts are itchy and a male affected with it may experience itchiness on the shaft of the penis or on the genital area.
- Treating genital warts in the beginning is advisable as they may convert into cancer of penis, anus, or mouth and throat, depending on the location of the warts. Therefore, though rare, signs and symptoms of cancer can also be one of the presentations of genital warts.
- When warts develop on the tip of the penis or inside the urethra they might interfere with normal flow of urine.
Sign And Symptoms In Women:
- In women, first signs of genital warts could be unusual vaginal discharge. Genital warts doesn’t grow really fast. They usually take long to appear on the skin. They may take three to six months to show up.
- Genital warts on the walls of vagina (medically called vaginal warts) may cause bleeding after intercourse.
- Itchiness in the genital area such as in and around the anus and in the cervix may also indicate the presence of HPV infection that may lead to warts.
- In females, warts may appear on vulva, cervix, groin and vagina and the infection may also traverse into the bloodstream causing complicated health condition such as cancer.
- Females indulging in oral unprotected sex are also likely to experience genital warts in throat, mouth and face. Such warts are not restricted to genital area and may appear on hands and feet as well.
It is usually difficult to notice genital warts in early stages partly due to pubic hair and often times warts are on the cervix. If irritation, itchiness or unusual changes take place near the genital area for example, anus, vagina and groin then medical aid should be sought. After physically examining the area, a medical practitioner may ask the patient to go for certain tests like pap smear test to identify warts located inside the vagina or anus.
How Long does it take for Genital Warts to Appear?
Usually it takes three to six months for first signs of genital warts to appear on the skin. In men, they may first appear on scrotum (the skin covering testicles followed with itchiness and pain.
Do Genital Warts Bleed or are Painful?
Genital warts can be painful depending on their stage. For example, warts in early stage are nor painful for itchy. They are soft to touch and are not hard. If you have red colored bumps near the genital area then you may be affected by genital warts. Going through some test may help you get them detected.
What are the Risk Factors?
According to estimates by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of sexually active people are prone to develop genital warts at some time in their life. Genital warts are contagious; however there are many other factors that put a person at the risk of developing warts. These factors include:
- Having unprotected sex with more than one partner increases a person’s risk of getting infected by HPV causing genital warts by manifolds.
- If you already have any other sexually transmitted disease then your risk of getting genital warts virus may be higher than the others.
- It is beneficial to know the sexual history of your partner. In case you are not aware of it then you might increase your risk of getting infected by genital warts causing virus because warts are not always visible to the naked eyes. If you know that your partner had many sex partners in the past then you can ask them to go for tests to detect any STD they might be affected with.
- If someone turns sexually active at tender age then the chances of the person of developing the genital warts may increase as youngsters are more likely to have multiple partners as compared to adults.
- Having oral sex is also one of the factors that may lead to the development of warts inside or around the mouth in men, women and transgenders.
- According to various studies by the CDC, men with weak immune systems have increased chances of developing genital warts.
- As per some reports by CDC, men who receive anal sex are more likely to get anal HPV and develop anal cancer.
Vaccination to Avoid Infection and Resulting Symptoms
It is important to keep one protected by taking HPV vaccination on time. HPV vaccine – Gardasil – is one drug that can protect girls as well as boys from HPV causing genital warts. Girls and boys of 11 or 12 years are eligible for the drug, which help protect against 90% of genital warts cases. For good results, a person should undertake three Gardasil vaccinations over six months.
Post vaccination, a person may experience symptoms including pain, swelling, itching, bruising and redness at the injection site. In addition, headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting may also be experienced by some.
Treatment Options and Home Remedies:
Before applying treatment it’s critical to get confirmed diagnosis done by a doctor as many other fleshy growths mimic few identical symptoms for example skin tags and cancer.
There are many treatments available for getting rid of warts. However all of these treatment options are prescription based and need a qualified nurse of doctor to prescribe and apply.
Don’t have any sexual activity till the warts are healed.
As per anecdotal evidence there are some home remedies that can be tried to treat mild symptoms of genital warts. Do consult you doctor if you plan to start any such treatment.
- Tea Tree Oil:
You will need- four to five drops of tea tree oil; Almond or olive oil
Mix the tea tree oil with almond or olive oil. With the help of cotton, dab the oil several times on the warts. This will help in easing the irritation caused by the warts and in removing them.
- Olive leaf Extracts:
Olive leaf contains anti-viral element capable of disinfecting the entire body. You can use olive leaf to boost your immunity to fight genital warts. You can have olive leaf orally mixed with hot water after drying and crushing the leaf. This will boost your immune system to fight against HPV causing genital warts.
Professional help should be sought for warts located inside the genital area such as vagina, anus and penis. Application of home remedies on the warts located inside the body can cause serious harm.
- Oatmeal Bath- To ease Itchiness:
To ease itchiness caused by genital warts take Oatmeal bath. For the best results, soak powdered oatmeal in a bucket of hot water and take bath with it. It will help in easing uneasiness and itchiness.