Untreated, genital warts eventually fade away as your body’s immune system fights the intruders. But meanwhile, they can be very uncomfortable and unsightly. Genital warts, like other warts, spread when you pick or scratch them. With today’s techniques, you don’t have to live with the embarrassment and discomfort of genital warts. Your dermatologist at Century Medical and Dental Center treats you quickly and effectively in one office visit. At the same time, your Brooklyn doctor identifies other possible disorders that you may have contracted through the sexual contact that caused the warts.
Genital warts are bumpy growths of skin that appear on the groin, anus, penis, vagina, vulva or cervix. They may appear pink, red or even have a cauliflower-like appearance. The uncomfortable lesions usually appear in groups, but can spread rapidly if not properly treated. Although typically not painful, they can itch or bleed, and they’re highly contagious.
Visit your dermatologist in Brooklyn at Century Medical and Dental Center for a definitive diagnosis, treatment and recommendations to prevent a relapse. While a general practitioner may recognize the symptoms you have, you’re assured of a correct answer and proactive treatment measures when you rely on the experience and training of a renowned Brooklyn dermatologist.
Causes of Genital Warts
Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of one in 100 adults who are sexually active have genital warts. Typically, they result from the spread of the human papillomavirus (HPV). In fact, HPV is so prevalent, that the vast majority of sexually active people will become infected at some point in their lives, which is why you must talk frankly to your doctor about an HPV vaccination at your next physical exam.
There are about 100 different variations of HPV, and not all of them cause genital warts. HPV also can lead to cancer of the cervix, anus, penis, mouth and throat. After exposure to the form of HPV that causes genital warts, it may take one to three months for the bumps to appear.
Some people never get genital warts, and females are slightly more likely than males to develop warts after exposure to the virus. A compromised immune system also makes you more vulnerable to the side effects of HPV. If you’ve had sexual contact with someone infected with HPV, you should get tested, regardless of whether you got warts or not.
Symptoms of Genital Warts
The unfortunate bumps appear on the parts of your body that had intimate contact with an infected person. While this usually occurs in the vaginal and penis area, anal or oral sex can result in warts in the rectum, mouth and throat. You may also experience itching, discomfort or even bleeding during intercourse when you have genital warts.
Your warts may be too small to be seen with the naked eye, or they might be present in large clusters. They can be flat, bumpy, smooth or rough. In addition to a physical exam, your Brooklyn dermatologist — who also is trained in cancer screening and gynecology — may test you for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Women may undergo additional tests, such as a cervical cone biopsy and Pap smear.
Genital Warts Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the HPV virus itself. Nonetheless, your doctor has several options to treat the resulting outbreak of warts. He can use medications that include both topical applications and injectable medicines. There are also mechanical wart removal procedures, such as:
- Cryotherapy. This procedure involves freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen causing a blister to form around the wart. The dead tissue eventually falls off, but you may require additional treatments since warts often return. You may experience some slight discomfort during the procedure, but your Brooklyn doctor ensures your comfort with local anesthetics and recommendations for safe pain-relieving medications. You only need them for a day or two.
- Electrocautery. Your doctor burns off your warts with an electric current. Pain and swelling can follow the treatment, but quickly disappears within a couple days. Heat and/or ice may be recommended to ensure your comfort.
- Excision. Your dermatologist uses a sharp tool to remove the warts from your body. This minimally invasive surgical procedure requires a local anesthetic and may result in slight post-operative pain, for which your doctor prescribes over-the-counter or prescription medicine.
- Lasers. This technique focuses a powerful beam of light on the afflicted area. Due to its expense and tendency to cause pain and scarring, your doctor may reserve it for only the most troublesome cases. As an expert in the use of lasers and pain control, your doctor knows when this may be the most effective treatment for you.
Do not attempt to use over-the-counter wart treatments on genital warts, since they aren’t designed for the moist areas where genital warts normally appear. They may even make the condition worse. Don’t take chances, contact Century Medical and Dental Clinic medical specialist to ensure that you receive the proper treatment for your specific circumstances.