Both genital warts and genital herpes are common sexually transmitted diseases that present greater danger to women. Teenage girls are most at risk for contracting genital warts and herpes. The only way to protect yourself 100 percent is abstinence. Since both infections can be spread even while using condoms, it is advisable for both partners to be tested before entering into a sexual relationship.
The human papilloma (HPV) virus causes genital warts. The disease is extremely contagious. There is a 60 percent chance of contracting genital warts after a single exposure from an infected person. HPV can cause dangerous cancerous or precancerous cells in the cervix. Therefore it is important for any woman, especially one whose been exposed to HPV, to have regular pap spears and cervical cancer screenings.
Over 70 different types of HPV exist. Some may lead to cervical cancer while other forms cause soft, wart like masses in the genital area. The warts present as flesh colored, raised growths around the vulva, cervix, vagina or anus. Other symptoms related to the disease include abnormal vaginal bleeding after intercourse, itching of the vulva or anus, increased dampness in the area of the growths and increased vaginal discharge. Often, however, there are no signs of HPV. Even without displaying symptoms, an infected individual is still contagious.
Treatment must be administered by a doctor. Over the counter remedies for other types of warts will fail to treat genital warts caused by HPV. Your doctor may apply a skin treatment in the office or prescribe medication that you apply several times a week at home. Surgical abscission may be preformed if the masses are large and persistent. Outbreaks can typically be controlled with proper treatment. Gardasil is a new vaccine that protects women against four HPV stains that cause the majority of genital warts and cervical cancers.
The herpes virus is caused from herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2). Most genital herpes infections are caused from HSV-2. It is estimated that about one in five adults has genital herpes. However, the risk of catching the virus is higher for women. Approximately one in four women is infected while only one out of eight men has genital herpes. Amazingly over 500,000 people are diagnosed each year adding to the already large number of herpes infections.
It is not uncommon for individuals with herpes to display minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. The first signs of genital herpes tend to appear 2 to 20 days after exposure, although it can lie dormant in the body with the first symptoms appearing years later. The first outbreak begins with redness and swelling of the genitals. Blister like sores appear filled with fluid, when the blister ruptures, the fluid dries and the blister heals, leaving no scar. During the initial outbreak the sores may itch, tingle or burn. Flu-like symptoms such as swollen glands, fever, headache and muscle ache may occur as the body tries to fight the virus. When the blisters are healed, the active phase of the infection is over and the virus retreats back into the body to lay dormant until another outbreak occurs.
There is currently no cure for herpes. Antiviral medications are used to suppress the illness and can control the number of outbreaks a person sees each year, in addition, it can help prevent spreading the disease to uninfected partners. Keeping your immune system in good condition is vital to preventing outbreaks. Pregnant women infected with HSV-2 need to take every precaution to prevent transmission to their infants as genital herpes can be fatal to newborns. Fortunately transmission to infants is rare; however, if a woman has active sores at the time of delivery a C-session will be performed to protect the baby.