Humans by nature like to flaunt their sexuality. Anything in excess is always detrimental. Similarly exhibiting a sexual overdrive could also result in a lot of problems. Frequent change of partners can cause sexually transmitted infections which can get transmitted from person to person. A very common sexually transmitted infection is the infection caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is the main cause of genital warts. This HPV can cause warts at many places in the body but it is the warts in the genital area that are more dangerous. These skin growths can be itchy and painful. It is dangerous in women as it can lead to cancer of the cervix or the vulva.
These warts are caused by a viral infection. There are more than 40 types of HPV that can affect the genital area. It has been seen that the maximum damage is caused by the HPV 6 or HPV 11 virus strands. This disease spreads through skin to skin contact especially at the time of sexual intercourse.
Signs and Symptoms :
Genital warts are usually very small in size and are not normally visible to the naked eye. They are very small and fleshy just like a cauliflower. The symptoms in male and females differ as follows.
In the males the genital warts can appear on:
- The penis
- The scrotum
- The groin
- The thighs
- Inside or around the anus.
Whereas in the females the warts can appear on:
- Inside of the vagina or the anus
- Outside the vagina or anus
- The cervix.
Genital warts may also appear on the lips, mouth or tongue too in case one indulges in oral sex. They are quite small in size but have the capacity to be very painful and make you uncomfortable.
The doctor has to conduct a physical examination to confirm the presence of genital warts. AS the warts can occur deep inside the body a pelvic examination may be suggested. Many a time it is observed that the Pap smear test is also done to check for presence of genital warts. In rare cases a DNA test can be insisted upon to rule out genetic factors.
The doctor may ask your medical history as well as details of your sexual activities. Being honest with the doctor would be in your benefit. This along with the results of the tests will enable him to take an informed decision.
Genital warts if left untreated can cause complications in pregnancy. They also have the ability to lead to cancer of the cervix or the vulva. You should know these implications and take adequate care not to aggravate the situation by indulging in sexual activity once you know that you are affected by genital warts.
As this is a viral infection, this can be prevented by a vaccine. An HPV vaccine known as “Gardasil” can protect both men as well as women from the occurrence of genital warts. One more vaccine known as “Cervatrix” can be administered to women for protection against cervical cancer.
- Vaccination for boys should be done between ages 12 to 26.
- Vaccination for girls in the age group 11 to 12 is recommended.
- Never have unprotected sex as this is the easiest way this infection can spread.
Yes, this is a contagious disease as it can spread from person to person very easily during skin contact at the time of sexual intercourse. Care should be taken while indulging in oral sex or even deep throated kissing with persons who have a history of genital warts. As warts can form in the mouth as well as the tongue, kissing should be avoided.
There are different types of genital warts. The warts occur in batches of three or four usually. Depending upon the places where they occur they can be classified thus.
Research has shown the following statistics :
In Women :
- Vulva : Two out of three cases.
- Inside the Vagina : One out of three cases.
- Between the vagina and Anus : One out of three cases.
- Anus : One out of four cases
- Cervix : One out of ten
- Urethra Opening : One out of twenty five.
In Men :
- Anus : One out of three
- Head of the Penis : One out of ten
- Inside the Urethra : One out of ten
- Under the Foreskin : One out of twelve
- Between scrotum and Anus : One in thirty
- Scrotum : One in a hundred
HPV if left untreated can lead to cervical cancer as well as cancer of the vulva and penile cancer. HPV can also cause problems in pregnancy too.
Home Remedies :
There are many home remedies for these genital warts. It seems that the grandmothers do have a lot of wisdom as they have a readymade home remedy for virtually every STD. We shall have a look at a few.
- Apple cider vinegar : Apply apple cider vinegar (ACV) to the warts with a piece of cotton wool. Leave it to dry and then wipe it off. Doing this thrice a day can see the scab falling down gradually. In case they appear stubborn, they can be bandaged with a cotton tape with the ACV in contact with the warts.
- Castor Oil : Apply castor oil around the warts. Cut a clove of garlic and cover the warts with it. Tie a bandage and leave it for the night. Remove it in the morning. After about 2 to 3 weeks the warts disappear.
- Tea Tree Oil : Using tea tree oil to remove warts is an age old method. Tea tree oil is an excellent antiseptic.
- Banana Peel Remedy : Leave a banana peel on the warts overnight and remove them in the morning. Doing this daily for 2 weeks gets rid of the warts.
Treating of symptoms is very important as the virus cannot be cured once it enters your blood stream. Certain topical treatments include
- TCA ( Trichloroacetic acid)
Conclusion : It is always better to treat the symptoms. Hence care should be taken to ensure prevention.