What is a Genital Wart?

Genital warts are one of the common types of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). These warts, located in or near the genital areas, are also known as venereal warts, anogenital warts or condylomata acuminate.

Causes of Genital Warts

Genital warts are caused by a virus called Human Papillomavirus (also called HPV). These warts are spread through sexual contact with an infected partner or by sharing sex toys, and are communicable. Penetrative sexual activity is not necessary and the virus can be transmitted through skin to skin contact at some point of oral, genital or anal sex with an infected individual. Persons who often change sexual partners or have more than a single sexual partner are at a higher risk for this infection. There are more than 100 types of HPV, and around 40 of them can potentially cause genital warts. Two types, 6 and 11, account for more than 90 percent of genital warts.

The warts may be very small swellings or may well develop into large clusters of flesh on the genitals or around the anus. In males, these warts can develop on or around the penis, beneath the foreskin, near the scrotum or anus. In females, these warts most often grow on or around the perineal area (an area between the vagina and anus) and vulva, in the vagina and on the cervix (an opening to the uterus).

Treatment and Prevention

Genital warts are generally treated in quite a few ways according to the severity and their size and location. Certain chemical substances such as Podophyllin and Trichloroacetic acid may be used for removing visible warts. Other treatment options include laser therapy, Cryosurgery and Electrocautery. Genital wart treatment through surgery can be done in a doctor's office under local anesthesia.

HPV affects a large number of people around the world and both sexes are prone to infection. The use of condoms may possibly reduce transmission of genital warts.

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