Genital Warts

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Question

What are genital warts?

Answer

Genital warts are flat or cauliflower-like skin growths that typically appear on the penis, around the vagina, or around the anus. They are caused by a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV), and are spread through sexual contact. Genital warts may also occur inside the vagina, rectum, or urethra. Depending on their location, genital warts may cause pain, itching, burning, or no symptoms at all. Genital warts usually appear one to eight months after you become infected.

HPV transmission

Certain types of genital warts can increase the risk for cancer of the cervix, penis, or vulva. You can get genital warts through sexual contact including oral sex. They may spread to other areas of the body or to other people through touch. Condoms may help protect you from genital warts, but they can still spread to and from areas not covered by a condom.

Prescription drugs and surgery are the most effective treatments for genital warts. All sexual partners must be treated. It's important to see your physician if you think that you have them.

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