A frank, no blushing allowed, conversation about vaginal warts.
Well, as the name implies vaginal warts, more commonly known as genital warts, are located on or around the genitals and can extend to the rectal area of the body. The condition affects both men and women. Although they are caused by a virus, they differ from common warts. Their appearance is flesh toned to grayish in color and they protrude from the normal surface of the skin like a welt.
Most often people affected are in the age range of 17-33 years old. They are highly contagious with a transmission rate of 60%. The condition is contracted during intercourse when the virus enters the body from one person to another via micro tears that occur as a normal result of sexual contact. Once the virus enters the new host it enters a dormant state. This means that the outbreak of vaginal warts can occur several years after contact. In most cases however, the genital warts appear about three months after the sexual encounter.
If there is any good news to the genital wart story it is that they are, in most cases, painless. There are other symptoms that you will notice. They can be quite a nuisance depending on their size and intimate location. Itching is very common. They can range in size from 1 mm, to several square centimeters. As the individual vaginal warts grow they can conjoin with others covering large areas. Some notice discharge. If they are irritated they can bleed. In rare cases when warts are close to the urethra they can obstruct urination. While confined to the private areas, they can be found in more than one place around the genitals or rectum.
Vaginal warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. They are caused by the Human Pamplona virus. This is a well studied virus with over 100 different strains. Of these, 40 are known to cause genital warts. The two most notorious are 6 and 11, these two strains of HPV are responsible for over 90% of genital warts.
Keep in mind that the warts themselves are very contagious. It is never a good idea to pick or squeeze them. Just leave them alone and seek relief other than scratching and picking.
The best idea to get help is to talk to your doctor. There are many treatment options available. Ready for the bad news? (As if genital warts wasn’t bad news enough)? There is no real cure. No medical treatment is 100% effective. Even the most effective treatment only cures the initial outbreak and prevents recurrence in 63-91% of cases. Best to practice safe sex to begin with.
In some cases vaginal warts go away on their own after about 3-4 months. If this is not your story, then other treatments include: cryotherapy, laser treatment, electrodesiccation, medication and surgery. Of these surgery as the best success rate, but is usually done when the warts are small and few in numbers.
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