Having genital warts isn’t the end of the world. If it were, the world would have ended a very long time ago. Not only are genital warts one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) known to mankind, they’re also one of the oldest. If you have genital warts, you’re not alone and the infection can be treated.
It’s estimated that one in every three people either has active genital warts or is a carrier of the virus that can cause them. Some experts argue that the figure is actually closer to about 50 percent of all sexually active people. In any case, the odds are good that you’ll become infected at some point in your life. In fact, if you’ve had any sexual contact, you’ve more than likely been exposed to the virus already.
Genital warts should always evaluated with a thorough consultation and physical examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan in order to exclude any underlying serious condition.
The Virus Behind the Warts
Genital warts are caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). There are over 40 known strains of HPV. Some are benign; others are more troublesome. Just because you become aware that you have genital warts doesn’t mean you’re going to die or have to become celibate. Check with your dermatologist in New York City for treatment options.
Now for the bad news. HPV can cause warts on your cervix, in your rectum or even in your throat. While most types of this virus cause warts, others can cause cancer — such as cervical cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer, oral cancer, throat cancer and cancer of the vulva. These particular problems with the virus have undergone an increase in recent decades. There are vaccines against certain strains of the virus, but they’re generally reserved for adolescents and young adults.
Who’s at Risk
Anybody who is sexually active in any way is at risk. However, the longer you’ve been sexually active — and the larger number of sexual partners you’ve had — greatly contribute to your chances of contracting the virus and developing genital warts. But understand that having sex one time, with a single person, is enough to become infected. Some other factors that raise your odds for infection include:
- Having unprotected sex
- Beginning to have sexual contact at a young age
- Being a woman — the simple issue of gender increases your chances of contracting genital warts, as nearly 80 percent of women will be infected at least once by the time they reach age 50
- Where you live — in larger, more densely populated places like New York City, infection rates are especially high simply because of the sheer number of sexually active people living so closely together
The Signs of Genital Warts
Since there are obvious differences between the male and female genitals, the warts show up differently on men and women. In both sexes, however, they usually look like small, flesh-colored bumps that appear in or around your genitals. They can appear individually or in clusters that resemble tiny clusters of cauliflower. Sometimes, genital warts aren’t even big enough to be seen by the naked eye, which is why you should get regular check-ups with your NYC dermatologist.
The differences in genital warts between men and women include:
- Women usually find that warts grow on their:
- Vaginal walls
- Skin between their vagina and anus
- Men find genital warts on their scrotum, the tip of the penis or the shaft of the penis
- Both men and women can contract them in the anus, mouth or throat
It‘s possible that you experience some itching or discomfort from genital warts. The warts may bleed during sex if they’re located in a place that’s going to be rubbed or irritated frequently. Unlike herpes, syphilis or other viral sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), there are no additional symptoms, like a fever or achy body, to alert you that you aren’t well.
All symptoms should always evaluated with a thorough consultation and physical examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan in order to exclude any underlying serious condition.
Aside from the physical warts and the possibility of cancer — as if these complications aren’t bad enough — the human papillomavirus has also caused other problems if you don’t visit a New York dermatologist to have your warts removed. For example, it’s possible that they can become enlarged, making it difficult for you to urinate.
HPV can also cause complications during pregnancy. Warts left on your vaginal walls could affect the ability of your vaginal tissue to stretch while giving birth. This could cause vaginal rips or tears from the pressure and stress of the birth. Vaginal warts can stretch and bleed, making the birth more painful than it needs to be. In extremely rare cases, babies born to mothers with genital warts can develop warts in their throats. In these cases, it may be necessary to operate to make sure your baby’s airways are clear.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you notice any suspicious bumps or warts on you or your partner’s genital area, it’s time to seek medical attention. It’s common for women to be unaware of warts inside the vaginal canal. This is one reason why it is important for you to stay current with your Pap smears and gynecological exams.
Many men never realize they have the virus because they never experience any symptoms. Even in these cases, the virus can still be transmitted from men to their partners. Men (and women) without symptoms are called carriers. Their lack of symptoms is one of the reasons that HPV has become so common.
What You Can Do About Warts
Always leave treatment of genital warts to highly trained professionals like your dermatologist in Manhattan.
You may have to be treated more than once, though, because genital warts can come back over time. But there are a variety of treatment options available. The solutions your dermatologist provides may provide you with the best options. As a doctor specializing specifically in treating skin conditions, your best dermatologist in NYC has a unique understanding of the problem and the most options for treating your genital warts.
All symptoms and skin findings should always evaluated with a thorough consultation and physical examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan in order to exclude any underlying serious condition.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about Genital Warts? Would like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, best dermatologist NYC, Dr. James Taft of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, please contact our Midtown NYC office for consultation with cosmetic and laser dermatologist.
Dr. James Taft (Laser Cosmetic Dermatology of NY)
New York, NY 10010
(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
☎ (212) 889-2402