Warts in Women
What are Genital
Genital warts are a highly contagious type of sexually transmitted
disease (STD) caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). In women, HPV most
dominantly affects those between the ages of 16 and 25. Genital warts are
fleshy bumps that can be found in the vulvar region, the inside of the
vagina, on the cervix, or on and around the anus. Sometimes these bumps
can even arise in the mouth or throat after having oral sex with someone
who has the disease. Genital warts can either aggregate in groups or they
can be spread out over the genital area.
for Genital Warts
If genital warts are not treated, they can either go away on their
own or they may grow into a bump that looks like cauliflower. Since there
is no way to know which will happen, those who think they may have this
disease should go to their doctor for an exam and treatment. Treatment
for external genital warts usually includes a variety of medications that
can be rubbed on the warts to make them go away, such as:
Smaller warts can be treated through various surgeries such as cryosurgery
(freezing the warts off with liquid nitrogen), electrocautery (burning
the warts off), or laser therapy. Large warts that are unable to be treated
through other means can also sometimes be treated through surgical means.
Alpha interferon (an antiviral drug) may also be used to remove any warts
that may have developed inside the vagina. This gel is injected (through
the use of an applicator) into the vagina twice a day each week for 5 days
in a row until the warts go away.
Podophyllin solution 10-25%: rubbed on the warts weekly (no more than 6
weeks) by the doctor. Wash the medication off 1-4 hours later.
Podofilox solution 0.5%: rub on warts twice a day for 3 days, then take
4 days off. Repeat this cycle until the warts go away (but no more than
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) 80-90%: the patient's doctor should rub on warts
weekly, but no longer than 6 weeks.
It is important that the patient understands that genital warts can
be removed through various treatments, but these treatments will not kill
the human papillomavirus. Therefore, once infected by this virus, it will
stay in the body's system for a lifetime, often in a dormant state. As
a result, recurrences of genital warts are usually the result of the dormant
virus becoming active again, as opposed to reinfection by a sexual partner.
The virus will only be transmitted to another person if that person comes
in contact with viral shedding from the warts themselves. If the person
in question is not experiencing an outbreak at the time of contact, it
is unlikely that the virus will be transmitted. Remember that the virus
is always present, but the chance of infection during an outbreak is much
greater than at any other time.
HPV spreads through skin-skin contact, and condoms establish a barrier
to prevent that sort of contact. However, genital warts may be spread via
contact throughout the perineum, the entire region between the legs, so
while condoms help, they're not going to provide absolute protection. Really,
if there are warts present in the genital region, all sexual contact should
be avoided until after successful treatment has been completed. If the
patient does engage in intercourse, latex condoms should be used. Oral-genital
contact, as well as genital-genital contact, can transmit the virus, so
condoms are just as important in oral sex as they are in intercourse.
It is important to use latex condoms and not natural skin ones, since
the pores in natural skin condoms are large enough to allow virus particles
to escape through the barrier. Although in theory condoms are considered
to be 99% effective, that's only in cases where they are used properly.
Be sure that the condom has been put on correctly, leaving a bit of space
at the tip for ejaculation, and that it is rolled down all the way to the
base of the penis. After ejaculation, the man must withdraw before he begins
to lose his erection so that the condom does not fall off too early. Pregnancy
and HPV At some point in her life, a woman infected with HPV may decide
that she wants to have children. At this point she will be faced with the
decision of either risking unprotected sex or becoming pregnant through
artificial insemination. Unprotected sex is safer when warts are not openly
visible, although HPV lesions may be microscopic. Unfortunately, the stress
associated with pregnancy and childbirth has been known to cause the warts
to reappear. This is dangerous because sometimes the infected mother can
pass the virus to her child either during gestation or during the delivery
process. If this occurs, there is a chance that the child will subsequently
develop laryngeal papillomatosis (throat warts).
A New Vaccine
While all of this may sound discouraging, many researchers are optimistic
about soon releasing a vaccine against HPV. As a virus, HPV has a coat
of proteins around its genetic material, and the human immune system may
be able to generate a defense against the virus through exposure to some
of those viral proteins before it actually encounters the real thing. Currently,
clinical testing is underway using some viral proteins to see if they actually
work in vaccinating people against HPV.
Copyright © 1999 GenneX
and Cervical Dysplasia
care of Genital Warts
in the Genital Area
a listing of
scientific articles and texts used.