Condyloma – or genital warts – are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the same virus that causes most cases of cervical cancer. However, there are over 100 different types of HPV. HPV types 6 and 11 are a major cause of warts, and types 16 and 18 are the major causes of cervical cancer. Dr. Valone your Des Moines gynecologist can help determine if you have condyloma and if so, what type it is.
HPV is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact, including sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or any other contact involving the genital area (eg, hand-to-genital contact).
Most people with the virus do not have visible warts, but can still transmit the virus. Treating the warts may not decrease the chance of spreading the virus. Therefore, all people who are sexually active should be regarded as potential sources of HPV, not just those with visible warts.
Warts may appear weeks to a year or more after being exposed to the virus; it is not usually possible to know when or how you became infected.
Symptoms of Genital Warts
Warts are skin-colored or pink, and may be smooth and flat or raised with a rough texture. They are usually located on the labia or at the opening of the vagina, but can also be around or inside the anus.
Most women with warts do not have any symptoms at all. Less commonly, there may be itching, burning, or tenderness in the genital area.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Genital Warts
Genital warts can be diagnosed based on an exam. If Dr. Valone your Des Moines ObGyn is not certain that the area is a wart, he may perform a biopsy (remove a small piece of tissue).
There are many ways to treat genital warts; some involve using a medicine and some involve a procedure. Even with treatment, it is possible that the warts will come back within a few weeks or months. This is because treating the warts does not necessarily get rid of the virus (HPV) causing the warts.
Some cells in the normal-appearing genital skin and vagina may remain infected with HPV. There is currently no treatment that will permanently get rid of HPV in all infected cells, but most people will clear the virus and the warts with their own immune systems within two years.
The “best” treatment for warts depends on how many warts you have, where they are located, you and Dr. Valone your Des Moines gynecologist’s preferences. Medical treatments include creams or liquids that you or your doctor or nurse must apply to the wart. All of these treatments must be used one or more times per week for several weeks, until the wart(s) goes away.
We want to be your Des Moines gynecologist; if you feel that you may have genital warts, call our office today at (515) 225-7201 to set up an appointment or to talk to any of our highly qualified staff members. We look forward to serving you.
Thank you for trusting us with your care!