Genetal Warts

GENITAL WARTS

General Infomation
Definition: 

Genital warts, also known as venereal warts or condylomata acuminata, are one of the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases.
As the name suggests, genital warts affect the moist tissues of the genital area. They may look like small, flesh-colored bumps or have a cauliflower-like appearance. Genital warts may be very small, or they may multiply into large clusters.

Although genital warts can be treated with medications and surgery, they are a serious health concern. The virus that causes genital warts — the human papillomavirus (HPV) — has been associated with cervical cancer. It has also been linked with other types of genital cancers.

Symptoms: 

In women, genital warts can grow on the vulva, the walls of the vagina, the area between the external genitals and the anus, and the cervix. In men, they may occur on the tip or shaft of the penis, the scrotum or the anus. Genital warts can also develop in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sexual contact with an infected person.

The signs and symptoms of genital warts include:


• Small, flesh-colored or gray swellings in your genital area
• Several warts close together that take on a cauliflower shape
• Itching or discomfort in your genital area
• Bleeding with intercourse

Often, genital warts cause no symptoms. They may be so small and flat that they can't be seen with the naked eye. Sometimes, however, genital warts may multiply into large clusters.
Pregnancy may sometimes trigger a dormant infection, or an active infection may worsen during pregnancy.

When to see a doctor
See a doctor if:
• You've developed bumps or warts in your genital area
• Your sexual partner has developed genital warts or has been diagnosed with them

Causes & Complication
Causes: 

Like warts that appear on other areas of your skin, genital warts are caused by a virus — HPV — that infects the top layers of your skin. There are more than 100 different types of HPV, but only a few can cause genital warts. These strains of the virus are highly contagious and spread through sexual contact with an infected person.

About two-thirds of people who have sexual contact with someone who has genital warts develop the condition — usually within three months of contact, but in some cases not for years.

Complications: 


• Cancer. Cervical cancer has been closely linked with HPV infection. Certain types of HPV also are associated with cancer of the vulva, cancer of the anus and cancer of the penis. Human papillomavirus infection doesn't always lead to cancer, but it's still important for women, particularly if you've been infected with certain higher risk types of HPV, to have regular Pap tests.


• Problems during pregnancy. Genital warts may cause problems during pregnancy. Warts could enlarge, making it difficult to urinate. Warts on the vaginal wall may reduce the ability of vaginal tissues to stretch during childbirth. Rarely, a baby born to a mother with genital warts may develop warts in his or her throat. The baby may need surgery to prevent airway obstruction.

Tests
Tests and Diagnosis: 

Detecting genital warts

Because it's often difficult to detect genital warts, your doctor may apply an acetic acid solution to your genitals to whiten any warts. Then, he or she may view them through a special microscope called a colposcope.

The importance of Pap tests

For women, it's important to have regular pelvic exams and Pap tests, which can help detect vaginal and cervical changes caused by genital warts or the early signs of cervical cancer — a possible complication of HPV infection.
Have a Pap test every other year, starting when you're 21. You can reduce the frequency of your Pap tests to once every three years if you're older than 30 and you've had three normal tests in a row. Talk with your doctor about the right screening schedule for you.

If you've had genital warts, you may need more frequent Pap tests, depending on the severity of your condition.

Medication & Prevention
Treatments and Drugs: 

Up to 30 percent of genital warts go away without treatment. If your warts aren't causing discomfort, you may not need treatment. However, if your symptoms include itching, burning and pain or if visible warts are causing emotional distress, your doctor can help you clear an outbreak with medications or surgical treatments. The underlying virus is never completely eliminated, however, and genital warts may reappear even after treatment.
Medications

Genital warts treatments that can be applied directly to your skin include:

• Imiquimod (Aldara). This cream appears to boost your immune system's ability to fight genital warts. Avoid sexual contact while the cream is on your skin. It may weaken condoms and diaphragms and may irritate your partner's skin.

• Podophyllin and podofilox (Condylox). Podophyllin is a plant-based resin that destroys genital wart tissue. Your doctor must apply this solution. Podofilox contains the same active compound, but can be safely applied by you at home. Your doctor may want to administer the first application of podofilox, and will recommend precautionary steps to prevent the medication from irritating surrounding skin. Never apply podofilox internally. Additionally, this medication isn't recommended for use during pregnancy.

• Trichloroacetic acid (TCA). This chemical treatment burns off genital warts. TCA must always be applied by a doctor.

Don't try to treat genital warts with over-the-counter medications. These medications aren't intended for use in the moist tissues of the genital area. Using over-the-counter medications for this purpose can cause even more pain and irritation.
Surgery

You may need surgery to remove larger warts, warts that don't respond to medications, or — if you're pregnant — warts that your baby may be exposed to during delivery. Surgical options include:

• Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy). Freezing works by causing a blister to form around your wart. As your skin heals, the lesions slough off, allowing new skin to appear. You may need repeated cryotherapy treatments.

• Electrocautery. This procedure uses an electrical current to burn off warts.

• Surgical excision. Your doctor may use special tools to cut off warts. You'll need local anesthesia for this treatment.

• Laser treatments. This approach, which uses an intense beam of light, can be expensive and is usually reserved for very extensive and tough-to-treat warts.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies: 

Many folk remedies — such as aloe, castor oil and vinegar — are promoted for the treatment of genital warts, Consult us for the treatment of genital warts

Prevention: 

• Use a condom. HPV can spread through skin-to-skin contact with any infected part of your body — but using a condom every time you have sex can significantly reduce your risk of contracting HPV.

• Avoid sexual contact. If warts are visible on your genital area or your partner's, avoid sexual contact until the warts are treated. If you've developed genital warts for the first time, inform your sexual partner so that he or she can be screened for infection and, if necessary, receive treatment.

• Consider vaccination. While they won't completely prevent HPV infection, two vaccines — Gardasil and Cervarix — protect against the strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. The main difference between the two vaccines is that Gardasil also offers protection against the two strains of HPV responsible for most genital warts.

Gardasil is approved for use in males and females between ages 9 and 26. Cervarix is approved only for girls and women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HPV vaccination with either Gardasil or Cervarix for all girls at age 11 or 12. Both vaccines are given as a series of three injections over a six-month period.
Although no HPV vaccine is on the recommended vaccination schedule for boys, a three-dose series of Gardasil is noted as an option between ages 9 and 18, to help prevent genital warts.

By Anonymous on 25 April 2011