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What are the Treatment Options For Genital Warts?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 12 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Genital Warts; Human Papilloma Virus;

Caused by the human papilloma virus, genital warts are spread through sexual contact. The human papilloma virus (HPV), is a virus that enters the body and takes over cells causing the virus to multiply. These viruses are spread through contact with others and bodily fluid exchange.

Are They Dangerous?

Apart from being highly contagious, it is thought that untreated genital warts can lead to the early stages of cancer.Some forms of genital warts can be unaffected by treatments and be stubborn to cure.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of genital warts can take a few months before they are noticeable, or as little as 4 weeks. They can begin as small abnormalities on the surface of the skin and can develop to be very noticeable clusters sometimes resembling cauliflowers and can even have a stalk like structure that attaches them to the skin.

They are not often painful but can cause irritation and itching. For those with no noticeable warts, they are often diagnosed after reporting to your GP with genital itching.Genital warts seen in females are usually around the vulva, gathering around the urethra (the entrance to the tube that leads to the bladder) and can also be found around the rectum.In men they are seen around the urethra, rectum and can grow under the foreskin.

Treatment For Genital Warts

The first stage of treatment is too expose the affected cells to a poisonous substance, which targets the affected cell walls and destroys them. This stops the cells multiplying and will allow healthy tissue to replace the damaged area once they have been destructed.

If this treatment is not successful, they can be treated with lasers, by freezing them or surgery. This toxic substance cannot be used in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers so please inform your GP if think you may be pregnant or are currently feeding your baby yourself.

Cryotherapy involves freezing the warts using a liquid nitrogen. This is often an effective method of treatment.

The use of lasers in not offered to everyone as it may not be available in the region and they is concern about the spread of the virus in the vapours given off during treatment.It aim to target the invaded cells and destroy it. It is expensive and can cause scarring.

Surgical options involve applying a local anaesthetic (very occasionally a general anaesthetic) and burning the area using electrical probes. Sometimes the damages tissue will need removing entirely allowing for healthy tissue to replace it, though this depends on the severity of the spread of the warts.

Never try to pick or remove the warts yourself as this can spread the virus to your fingers, which can spread elsewhere. It must be treated by a medical professional.If you are receiving treatment for genital warts you should inform any partners you have had within the past 6 months in case they require treatment also.

Preventing Genital Warts

Using a condom will help to protect against this virus but if they are widespread around the vulva or rectum even a condom may not offer full protection; avoid having multiple partners.If you have genital warts do not share wash cloths, towels or clothes that may put others at risk of developing the condition.

Genital warts are a highly contagious sexually transmitted virus that can cause unsightly growths and severe itching. It must be treated medically and may not always be entirely cured.

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