Warts - Venereal Warts
Venereal warts are rough surfaced growths on the skin of the genital area. These growths can occur on both men and women.
Warts on the genital organs are caused by a virus. It is a member of the same family of viruses that causes the common skin warts which can appear almost any area of the body. Venereal warts are usually transmitted by sexual contact. Warts are more often communicable in their early stages of development and less likely communicable when they have been present for a long time. A warm, moist environment enhances the growth of these warts. Individual susceptibility factors may influence their degree of transferability and contagiousness.
Genital warts appear one to three weeks after sexual contact with an infected person. Initially, they may itch or there is a feeling of irritation. Eventually a "bump" will arise in the affected area. In men the area most commonly affected is the foreskin, the opening of the penis, the shaft of the penis and the scrotum. In women, venereal warts most commonly appear on the bottom of the vaginal opening, however, the vaginal lips, the deep parts of the vagina and even the cervix can be affected. In moist areas of the body warts usually appear as pink to red cauliflower-like growths rising from the mucous membrane. On dry skin, such as the shaft of the penis or inner thighs, the warts tend to be smaller, harder and have a yellowish-gray cast, resembling ordinary skin warts. Occasionally there can be extensive peri-anal warts when this happens they can interfere with defecation. They may crack, tear or bleed. Recent research has shown that Condyloma virus may be a factor contributing to a form of cancer of the cervix in women. The diagnosis of venereal warts is generally made on appearance only.
If the warts are small, they can be removed easily by the surface application of podophyllin and/or Trichloracetic Acid. The area is rinsed or washed off with soap and water within four to six hours after the application of the podophyllin. If the genital warts are large then multiple applications may be necessary. Occasionally, the venereal warts are either too numerous or they are resistant to this treatment. Other methods of treatment are freezing (cryotherapy), surgical excision and laser excision.
Should there be discomfort after washing off the medication a Sitz Bath (sitting in several inches of warm water) three or four times a day for 10 to 15 minutes a day may be helpful. Aspirin or Tylenol may help. If you should have severe pain, call the office and we will prescribe some local anesthetic medication to apply to the sore area.
It is important to avoid any sexual contact with a person who has genital warts. Use of condoms may prevent spread of warts onto the shaft of the penis or into the vaginal. Careful self-inspection periodically may help you to catch warts early. For women periodic gynecologic examination is suggested as warts can be hidden within the vagina or on the cervix where the women may not be able to find them on self-examination. Any women with history of vaginal warts or known exposure to venereal warts should have periodic (every six months) pap Smear and gynecologic examination to continually watch for changes on the cervix which might suggest early cervical cancer.