Genital Wart – What is HPV Virus?
Genital warts seen in men and women are the genital manifestations of sexually transmitted HPV infection. Especially in women, other HPV types can be found in the body at the same time and therefore, such as Pap Smear tests need to be done. Genital warts are light or dark brown bumps on the skin, sometimes as spots. It can be seen as one, or multiple warts can appear side by side in a cauliflower shape like warts when you look carefully, or it is not noticed at all. They may itch or cause bleeding during sexual intercourse.
It is known that 60 percent of women and men have encountered HPV at some point in their lives. After the virus enters the body, it is usually suppressed by the immune system. Types that cause genital warts when not suppressed show symptoms after an average of 1 year after infection.
Whether the virus gives symptoms or not, since it is in the body, there is a possibility of infecting other people. Therefore, it cannot be determined when and from whom the HPV virus was transmitted. The earlier genital warts are diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. Warts are treated with creams, various burning methods or surgery depending on their size.
Genital warts are seen in 1% of the society. In the 20s, this rate rises to 7 percent. Even if the cervical cancer vaccine is given, screening programs must be continued. From the age of 21, all women should have a smear every three years.
The screening Co-Test, in which HPV and PAP smear test are used together, is recommended to be done from the age of 30. If both of these results are good, the rate of developing cervical cancer or precancerous lesion within five years drops to 0.08 percent.
How is HPV Transmitted?
HPV virus can be seen in both sexes and is transmitted from person to person through sexual contact. In addition to vaginal and anal intercourse, HPV can be transmitted by skin contact in the genital area not covered by the condom.
Although genital warts are not visible, contact of HPV-infected skin to the genital area is sufficient for the virus to be transmitted.
- After being infected with HPV, it can remain silent in the body for many years and does not cause genital warts in everyone. In many people, HPV is neutralized by the body’s defense system.
- After the HPV types that cause genital warts are infected, warts may appear after a few months or years. During this period, the person becomes a carrier and can transmit the disease to others.
In pregnant women with HPV, it can be passed from mother to baby during delivery.
- It is not possible to determine from which partner the genital warts are transmitted and how long the virus has been in the body.
In untreated patients, warts can multiply and grow in size.
Genital Warts Symptoms
What Are the Symptoms of Genital Warts?
Genital warts are the size of a pinhead, blistering and rough. When they are more than one, they can combine to take the appearance of cauliflower. Initially, they may be skin-colored or in the form of brown bumps. While warts usually do not cause any complaints, they can sometimes cause itching and bleed during sexual intercourse.
Warts can be single, grouped, higher than the skin, flat or “cauliflower” shaped.
The skin can be raised, rough, skin-colored, light brown or gray in color.
Usually there is no feeling of pain. However, it may be itchy.
It may bleed slightly during sexual intercourse.
It can occur within weeks or months after sexual contact with a person with warts.
HPV infection that causes genital warts can rarely cause warts in the throat if the mouth comes into contact with the genital area.
Vulva (external female genitalia)
In or around the vagina
In or around the anus
In the groin (where the genital area meets the inner thigh)
In the cervix
It occurs in one or more areas between the legs or in the anus.
Diagnostic Methods of Genital Warts
Genital warts are very typical in terms of their appearance. It can be detected in women and men, especially during the annual routine examination or by being examined by a specialist doctor when symptoms are observed.
If you have genital warts, do not have sexual intercourse until your treatment is finished and inform your partner as well. In women, HPV is an important risk factor for cervical cancer. Therefore, the following tests are done for the presence of other HPV types besides genital warts:
Pap Smear Test
During the gynecological examination, a sample is taken from the entrance of the vagina by means of a special brush or spatula. It is a painless procedure. It is determined whether there are cellular changes in the cervix. Smear test alone is not enough to diagnose cancer. A positive smear test indicates that there is a problem and diagnostic tests are needed.
HPV DNA test
If the Pap smear is abnormal, the possibility of HPV causing cancer is investigated.
Examination of the vulva, vagina and cervix with a lighted magnifying glass.
Tissue is taken from the cervix and cell changes that may cause cancer are investigated.
Treatment Methods of Genital Warts
There is no treatment that will rid your body of the HPV infection. However, genital warts can be removed by the following methods. In the treatment, it is aimed not only to eliminate the warts, but also to completely clean the tissue where the wart is located.
Genital warts are treated with cream, cryotherapy (burning) or freezing, and if the wart is large, it is treated with surgery.
These are drugs that provide treatment by chemically burning the wart tissue.
This allows the wart to freeze and disperse by spraying it with liquid nitrogen. It does not require anesthesia.
The warts are burned by means of electric current, the area is anesthetized with local anesthesia and the procedure is performed.
Surgical Treatment of Genital Warts
It is usually done under anesthesia and the warts are removed by surgery one by one by the surgeon. The main goal in treatment is to completely destroy the base tissue where the warts are located.
With all these treatment methods, existing warts heal. However, surrogacy can continue for years. Therefore, depending on the changes in the immune system of the person, warts may reappear.
Treatment of HPV/Genital Warts in Men
Currently, there is no test that can show the presence of HPV in men. Warts are usually seen on the penis, scrotum, around the anus and in the groin of men. If warts, moles, blisters, sores, ulcers, white spots or other abnormal structures are noticed on the penis and around it, then a specialist should be consulted.
The types of HPV that can cause warts in the genital area are not the same as the types that can cause cancer. Other types can lead to penile, anus and mouth-throat cancers. However, HPV prevention is still important for men, as the virus has been linked to rare cancers such as penile, anal, and head and neck.
Treatment of genital warts in men is done with medication, surgery, burning or freezing.