Genital Warts FAQ

What Are Genital Warts?

Hey guys, it’s Dr. George here, and I just wanted to create a little series that explains genital warts.

In this series, I’m going to talk about what genital warts are, how they are discovered, how they are treated, and also how they can be prevented. If you would like to learn more, there’s information below. Feel free to click on through and learn more about this, the most common sexually transmitted infection in Australia.

What are the symptoms of genital warts?

Genital Warts are a common sexually transmitted infection. Sometimes they’re called the common cold of sexually transmitted infections.

Warts are caused by a virus called HPV, the human papillomavirus. The HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infects the skin and it can lead to small bumps that can be found on the genitals, around the anus, and they can also be found inside the anal canal.

The way that they usually present is if they’re on the penis or the vagina, you can see them, they’re fairly obvious. Around the anus (bum), there can be bleeding around itch.

If you’ve noticed any lumps, bumps, or anything unusual, any bleeding, any itching, it’s important go in, see a doctor and get checked out. Genital warts are very straightforward to diagnose and very easy to treat.

How Are Genital Warts Spread?

The way that Genital Warts are spread is through skin-to-skin contact. Skin rubbing against skin.

Gential warts are very easily transmitted and sometimes the warts can be hidden away in places that you may not routinely see, so on the scrotum, the base of the penis, or other places.

Condoms do reduce the chance of skin-to-skin contact, however, the warts can still be transmitted.

Wherever the wart is, whatever it touches, there is a chance it could be transmitted that way.

If you have been vaccinated against HPV though, that is considered protective and greatly reduces your chance of infection with the HPV virus.

How Are Genital Warts Diagnosed?

Genital warts are diagnosed by visual inspection.

If you notice any lumps, bumps, bleeding or itch it is important to go and see your doctor.

For men there isn’t any other routine sort of screening test that are useful. There are no blood tests that are useful and whilst women do have Pap smears, for men, the idea of Pap smears or “chap smears” has been looked at. It’s not something that is routinely done and it hasn’t been shown to be as useful as we thought it was going to be.

The important part is if you notice any lumps, bumps, it’s important. Go in, see your doctor and get them checked out.

How Are Genital Warts Treated?

There’s a number of different ways to treat genital warts.

One of the easier ways is to either freeze the warts if they’re easily accessible or to apply a medication to the wart.

If you’re applying a medication, you basically need to just get a little dab of the medicine, and it goes directly onto the wart, whether that be on the penis, on the vagina, around the bum.

If the warts are inside the anus (bum), the medicine can also be applied there but can be a little more tricky.

Some medicines needs to be applied by doctors, however there are medicines that can be easily applied by yourself at home over a four to six of weeks to help get rid of the warts.

Other options include freezing. Again, sometimes this can be a bit tricky if they’re inside the anus, but if they’re easily accessible , it’s quite straightforward. However, with freezing you do need to get it done multiple times.

Bigger warts can be removed by surgical means. However, when you cut warts out, it doesn’t cure the actual virus, so it is important to note that surgical removal means there is a chance that the warts could come back.

By all means, it’s important to talk with your doctor about your best options when it comes to the treatment of genital warts.

How To Prevent Genital Warts

As mentioned earlier, genital warts are caused by a particular virus called HPV, the human papillomavirus.

Currently, there is vaccines available that can help prevent genital warts and prevent the further problems associated with genital warts. This vaccine help your body be protected against strains of the HPV virus associated with warts and also forms of cancer.

So, I do recommend that all people who are sexually active consider getting the HPV vaccine.

Currently here in Victoria, you can, if you’re under the age of 27, and men who has sex with other men, you can get this for free.

If you’re over the age of 27, unfortunately the government doesn’t contribute towards the cost, however it is still worth considering being vaccinated. This will help prevent genital warts, but also, later in life, anal cancers.

The Association Between Genital Warts & Anal Cancers

The HPV virus is associated with genital warts, but it is also associated with different types of cancers later in life. For men who have sex with men, HPV can lead to cancers in and around the anus.

If you have had genital warts in the past, if you notice any bleeding, if you notice any itching or if you notice any weird sensations around the bum, it is important. Go and see your doctor and get checked out to make sure that nothing else is going on.

Again, if you have been vaccinated against the HPV virus, this is a useful thing. So be sure to talk with your doctor about whether or not you should be considering getting the HPV vaccine

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