Genital warts are caused by the HPV or the (human papilloma virus) and are referred to as condyloma acuminata. They are flesh or gray colored growths that appear in the genital and the anal area of the body. It affects both men and women and they are highly contagious. The age group they are most seen in is the 17-33 year range, but they can occur at any age. Genital warts are the most common viral sexually transmitted disease. There are about 40 different types of HPV that can affect the genital area.
About 90% are caused by two different strains of this virus. These are the HPV 6 and HPV 11 and are considered to have a low cancer causing risk. This virus penetrates the skin and mucous membrane through minute abrasions in the genital area. Once the cells are infected it can lay dormant for months or even years. Generally most people who have had sexual contact with a person who has genital warts will develop them in an average of three months or less. Genital warts are usually not painful, but can become bothersome depending on their location. They can
sometimes be itchy and have a discharge. Genital warts in men can affect the penis, urethra, scrotum, and the rectum area. Most warts will appear raised, but some can be flat.
They also can be smooth or rough and appear pearly and cauliflower shaped or just a soft raised mass. Women with genital warts often have them in the labia or the vaginal area. If you have genital warts you should consult your doctor to go over treatment options. Warts that obstruct the urethra can have serious affects on urine output and this is an emergency and should be treated right away. There is not any cure that will totally get rid of them or prevent them from returning, but there are some treatment methods. One is the freezing method using liquid nitrogen. This generally is the first choice of treatment because it has the highest response rate with the fewest side effects. Another method is laser treatment. This treatment can be expensive and can cause scarring and increased healing time. This option is for people who have a lot of warts that keep reoccurring.
One other option is the electro desiccation. This method uses an electric current to destroy the warts. The problems with the last two methods are that you will need some type of anesthetic and there is the risk of potential virus particles getting into the air. There are also medications available for treatment of genital warts. Surgery to cut the warts away would be another option and has shown to be the most effective way of getting rid of the warts and preventing their return.