Genital Warts – Causes and Symptoms of Genital Warts
Genital warts, also known as condylomata acuminata or venereal warts are one of the common types of sexually transmitted disease. They are flat, small, flesh colored bumps or growths found in the genital area and anal region of both men and women. In men, genital warts grow on penis, near anus, between the penis and scrotum. In women, they grow on vagina, cervix, on the vulva and perineal area.
Genital warts are caused by a group of viruses called human papilloma viruses (HPV). They are so small that they cannot be seen sometimes and are identified through a colposcopic exam of cervix and vagina. They develop in people between the ages 17 – 33.
Causes of Genital Warts
Genital warts are caused by a virus Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that infects the top layers of the skin. There are more than 100 different strains of HPV but only a few are known to cause genital warts.
HPV infection is spread from person to person mainly through sexual contact that involves mucus membrane, vaginal skin, anal and oral. Even though some warts are not visible, it is possible for them and HPV to be spread. After getting infected with HPV, warts develop only after 6 weeks to 6 months. Some people does not develop genital warts even after exposed to HPV.
The following are the risk factors involved for developing genital warts in a person:
- Having weak immune system that doesn’t work well
- Being pregnant
- Having stress or other viral infections
- Alcohol or tobacco addiction
- Becoming sexually active at an early age
- The other partner may have sexually transmitted infections
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Sexual abuse may also be a cause
Symptoms of Genital Warts
Genital warts are small, flat and raised bumps or outgrowths and are flesh colored. Sometimes they cannot be seen with a naked eye. The common places they are found are:
- In males – On the penis, thighs, groin area, scrotum, inside and around the anus
- In females – On the cervix, vulva, perenial area, inside and around anus or vagina.
- Both males and females – On the throat(larynx), palate, tongue, mouth and lips.
The signs and symptoms of genital warts are:
- Vaginal bleeding with or after an intercourse
- Discomfort and itching in the genital area
- Several warts appear taking a shape of cauliflower
- Flesh colored swellings in the genital area
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Increased moisture or dampness in the area of genital warts