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A Full Guide to Vaginal Warts

A Full Guide to Vaginal Warts

Get ready for a frank conversation about vaginal warts. Being informed about this condition is important to ensure you stay healthy. It may not be fun to think about, but just bear with us and you'll come out of this article informed! Let's get into what vaginal warts are and how they're treated.

Key Points

  • Vaginal warts are growths in the genital and rectal areas.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of genital warts.
  • If you experience this condition, seek medical attention when you can. This condition can't be cured, but it can be managed.

What Are 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 a sexual encounter.

Symptoms of Vaginal Warts

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.

How Are Vaginal Warts Contracted?

Vaginal warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). 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.

Find Relief From Vaginal 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.

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 has the best success rate, but is usually done when the warts are small and few in numbers.

How to Prevent Vaginal Warts

An easy way to prevent vaginal warts is to practice safe sex. Always use protection, and have a discussion with your partner about their sexual history. You should also consider getting the HPV vaccine, if you haven't already. HPV can significantly raise your risk for certain cancers, so preventing it is key. Talk to your doctor about whether the HPV vaccine makes sense for you.

Of course, abstaining from sex is the best way to prevent HPV. You can rest assured, though, that there are steps you can take to protect yourself while still enjoying a healthy sex life. If you have vaginal warts, be up front with any sexual partner and talk about what you can do to prevent transmission. It can be embarrassing to talk about, but it's better to let your partner know up front than to have it be a surprise to them down the road.

If you have children, make sure to talk with them about HPV and other STDs. Making sure they have a correct understanding of these diseases will help keep them from contracting them. When you have this discussion is ultimately up to you, but we recommend having it prior to your child entering high school. Ask your doctor for resources to help you explain these ailments to your child, and allow them to ask any questions they may have without judgment.

Do not take the content of this article as professional medical adviceIt's important to exercise due diligence when obtaining relevant information in matters pertaining to your health. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any medical decisions.

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