What Type of STI is Genital Warts?
Genital warts are classified as a common viral STI, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Viral STIs are caused by viruses that are passed between individuals during unprotected sexual intercourse. Viral STIs can infect multiple areas of the body at the same time. Other viral STIs include HIV, genital herpes and hepatitis B.
As this condition is a viral infection, once genital warts have been contracted they cannot be cured. However, bouts of warts can be infrequent and considered to be very manageable with the correct course of treatment. It is also rare for genital warts to cause large amounts of pain and discomfort.
What are the Symptoms of Genital Warts?
Genital warts aren't always noticeable straight away and may take several months before they are noticed. However, for some individuals warts can appear within a matter of just two weeks. The times it takes to notice genital warts differ from person-to-person. This is why it is absolutely vital that you have an STI test as soon as you notice any symptoms.
Early signs usually consist of bumps and fleshy growths appearing on the genital or anal region either internally or externally. The warts may appear as one single growth, multiple single growths, one cluster of growths or multiple clusters of growths. Genital warts can also:
- Vary largely in size
- Be itchy
- Be generally painless for most
- Smooth or rough
The appearance of the warts isn't the same for everyone as each case is unique to the individual dealing with the infection. For example, the colour of the warts varies depending on the skin tone on the individual with genital warts. One difference between genital warts and other STIs is that these bumps are usually completely painless, whereas a condition like genital herpes can cause tingling and soreness.
The visible symptoms of genital warts are different between men and women. These symptoms are as follows:
Male symptoms can appear:
- Inside the urethra
- On the upper thigh
- Anywhere on the penis or scrotum (underneath the foreskin)
- Within or around the anus
Female symptoms can appear:
- Within the vagina
- On the cervix
- On the upper thigh
- Around the vulva
- Within or around the anus
How Do You Get Genital Warts?
You can become infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) that directly causes genital warts during unprotected sexual contact. Whilst there are almost 200 strains in total, the most common strains of this virus are HPV-6 and HPV-11. These strains account for approximately 90% of all cases of genital warts according to recent clinical studies. These particular strains of HPV are classified as 'low risk', meaning they are highly unlikely to cause cancer.
Most sexually active adults (both men and women) are likely to experience genital warts at some point during their lives due to how contagious this infection can be. This can also be because the infection can go unnoticed for a long period of time, as symptoms aren't always noticeable at first. Therefore, individuals who are infected by this virus are having unprotected vaginal or anal sex without any knowledge of having this infection. This risk of becoming infected with this condition can increase if you have a large number of sexual partners.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) can be transmitted from person-to-person as a result of the following causes:
- Vaginal sex
- Anal sex
- Sharing sex toys
- Genital-to-genital contact (non-penetrative)
- Oral sex (very rare)
It should be noted that this infection cannot be passed as a result of kissing, hugging or by sharing clothing, towels or any other everyday items (e.g. a toilet seat or cutlery).
An outbreak of genital warts can be triggered by:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Genital friction
It's important to get tested for genital warts as soon as you notice the initial symptoms of this infection. You can get tested for HPV (the cause of genital warts) at a GUM or sexual health clinic. You won't receive a test for this infection unless you are currently experiencing any symptoms that can be successfully analysed at your clinic of choice.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) can also be detected after a cervical screening test (also referred to as a smear test) as abnormal cells will be visible. This test is recommended yearly for women over the age of 25 in England to avoid cervical cancer. Cervical screening tests are highly recommended by medical professionals because certain forms of HPV can cause cervical cancer.
How do I Treat Genital Warts?
Whilst the virus causing genital warts (HPV) can't be cured, genital warts can be treated effectively using prescription medication, or in rare circumstances, surgery.
The prescription medication used for the treatment of genital warts is topical creams, ointments and lotions. These are used to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms caused as a result of this condition within just a few days. A variety of these treatments can be ordered online here at NEW HEALTH SITE. The treatments we offer include Aldara, Condyline and Warticon.
The topical creams and ointments are essential when effectively managing the symptoms of genital warts. In rare cases where no difference is experienced after using these treatments, surgery may be required in order to remove the warts. This would take place in a doctor's surgery and can involve the following four methods:
- Laser surgery
- Cryotherapy (freezing the warts)
Why should I treat genital warts?
Genital warts should be treated as soon as you notice the early signs of this virus because if left untreated the infection can spread to other individuals more easily as a result of unprotected sexual contact. Condoms alone won't provide sufficient protection against the spread of this virus because it's possible that certain areas of skin around the genital region won't be completely covered by the condom during sexual intercourse.
Also, certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), in particular HPV-16 and HPV-18, are known to potentially increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. In fact, in the UK these strains have been linked to 70% of cervical cancer cases.
Where do I get the treatment from?
Once you have been diagnosed with genital warts you can buy effective treatment in the form of creams and ointments for this condition quickly and discreetly online here at NEW HEALTH SITE. The treatments we have available for genital warts include Aldara, Condyline and Warticon. You can place your order for your selected genital warts medicine after you have filled out our simple online consultation form, which is reviewed by a member of our team of UK registered doctors. When this has been approved you will be issued a prescription and you can successfully buy your treatment of choice.
On the other hand, you can obtain topical wart treatments from your local pharmacy. This would mean meeting with a doctor to discuss your condition face-to-face, as opposed to discreetly online. Placing your order with a reputable UK registered pharmacy ensures that your medication can be obtained quickly and easily at your convenience, meaning doctor's appointments can be avoided.
Topical wart treatments should effectively heal visible warts caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) within just a few days when used correctly according to your prescription. It should be noted that the treatments we provide for this condition are not a cure for the virus, but do heal warts caused by the virus.
How to prevent genital warts
Genital warts can most definitely be prevented and there are a variety of methods that can be followed in order to successfully avoid this condition:
- Use condoms during sex (male or female condoms) - this is recognised as the safest and most effective option when attempting to prevent genital warts and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms are also very easy to obtain from pharmacies and supermarkets. Dental dams can also be obtained from sexual health and GUM clinics in the event of oral sex.
- HPV vaccine - vaccine options, such as Gardasil and Cervarix are available and approved by the FDA. Unfortunately, these vaccines aren't currently available through the NHS. Additional cervical screenings may be needed as not all strains of HPV are protected by these vaccines.
- Avoid sharing sex toys - before you share a sex toy with a partner, ensure that they are cleaned thoroughly and covered by a clean and fresh condom.