Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV virus. According to the Mayo Clinic, genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases and are usually passed within three months of having sexual contact with an infected partner.
Symptoms of genital warts include small grey bumps around the genital area, wart clusters with a cauliflower-like texture, bleeding while having sexual intercourse and genital itching.
Outbreaks can happen as frequently as several times a month or as infrequently as once every few years. According to the Mayo Clinic, 30% of outbreaks go away on their own. Outbreaks of genital warts usually last several weeks but can last months.
Women can be given a pap smear to determine if they have genital warts, while men may have acetic acid applied to their genital area to whiten the warts and make them easier to see, if necessary.
Although 30% of genital warts go away on their own, there are prescription medications available to manage outbreak symptoms, like Imiquimod, which increase's the body's immune functions in order to better fight the warts.
Cervical cancer can develop due to the human papillomavirus, as can cancer of the vulva, anus and penis. Contact your doctor if you think you may have one of these conditions.
- Photo Credit Penny Matthews: Sxc.hu
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