Friday, May 25, 2007

Genital Warts: A Common Sexually Transmitted Disease

Genital Warts: A Common Sexually Transmitted Disease

Genital warts are also called condylomata acuminata or venereal warts. They are the most easily recognized sign of genital human papilloma virus infection. In women, genital warts occur on the outside and inside of the vagina, on the opening to the womb, or around the anus. In men, they are seen on the tip of the penis, on the shaft of the penis, on the scrotum, and just like in women, around the anus.

Genital warts often occur in clusters and can be very tiny or can spread into large masses in the genital or anal area. They do no appear until two to four weeks after infection and sometimes months pass before they become visible. They do not usually hurt, but they can be very itchy.

Genital warts are like raised, flesh-colored lesions or can be cauliflower-like appearing growths around the anus or genitals. Some early signs that one can be suffering from genital warts is the itching of the penis, scrotum, anal area, or in vulva, increased vaginal discharge, and abnormal vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse, which is not usually associated with menstrual period.

People with many sexual partners are more at risk to have genital warts. And also those people who do not practice safe sex. Genital warts are very contagious and can easily spread during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner. But these do not develop right after contact, Development of genital warts usually occurs within three months of contact.

In order to avoid being infected, use condom during sexual intercourse because this can partially protect you against genital warts. Keep in mind always that total abstinence is the only foolproof way of avoiding genital warts and other STDs. Also stick to one sexual partner who is disease-free. But if you suspect that you are already infected, you should contact your doctor immediately for early diagnosis.

Genital warts can be diagnosed by a doctor or other health care worker by seeing them on a patient though a clinical examination. But there are some genital warts that are so flat and almost become invisible to the naked eye. These "invisible" genital warts can be detected though by a doctor.

This is done by swabbing the skin with acetic acid, and the genital warts will then show as white patches on the skin. For women, in order to detect genital warts in the cervix, they should take a Pap smear test. In a Pap smear, a laboratory worker examines cells scraped from the cervix under a microscope to see if they are cancerous. If a woman's Pas smear is abnormal, she is very likely to have HPV infection.

Early diagnosis of genital warts is very important so that these can be treated soon and to avoid spreading the infection to others. It is important that both partners are treated and to make sure you follow the treatment. Genital warts are easy to treat when they are small and few by swabbing with the cell poison, podophyllum. In some cases, this condition can be referred to a skin specialist to remove the genital warts under local anesthesia using surgery, freezing, or laser treatment.

Remember that anyone who has previously been infected with genital warts runs the risk that they will return now and then for the rest of their life. So you should always be on the look out and practice safe sex.