Genital warts are a highly contagious condition that is transmitted through sexual activity. The condition is also known as venereal warts, anogenital warts, anal warts, and Condylamota accuminata. There is no cure for the condition, but there are a number of treatments available.
As such, prevention is the preferable method of dealing the disease. At present genital warts causes can be reduced to the human papillomavirus or HPV. HPV causes venereal warts in both men and women, but the virus presents a larger health risk to women.
In women the virus has also been positively linked to cervical cancer. There are number of varieties of HPV and several of them are linked to anal and genital cancers, but 92% of the viruses that cause genital warts are not currently linked to cancers. Nearly half of the sexually active population has been exposed to the HPV, but the virus does not always result in venereal warts.
The vaccine Gardasil has been approved for both men and women to prevent several strains of the HPV virus, but it is a preventative agent and must be given prior to exposure to the known genital warts causes. Treatment usually consists of surgical or chemical removal of the warts or immunomodulating drugs. It must be noted that removing the warts does not remove the HPV infection or cure the condition.
Genital warts manifest as small, stalked, cauliflower shaped warts on the penis, beneath the foreskin, anus, vagina, scrotum, cervix, uterus, or rarely in a person’s mouth or throat. Sometimes the warts appear as small bumps, but in all cases they are painless.
The infected individual may experience bleeding, unusual discharge, or changes in urine flow as well. Because the warts are not always on the exterior of the genitalia or anus the condition may go undiagnosed or unnoticed. In addition the virus can be transmitted even if the infected partner has no warts.
The virus enters a host through abrasions in the skin or mucous membranes and may remain latent in the host for years before producing visible signs of infection. Until recently, infection with HPV implied a life time of infection. However, some recent studies suggest that the virus might be cleared by long term immune responses in some individuals.
This is still being debated and there is no current cure for venereal warts. Genital warts causes are exposure to the HPV through unprotected sexual contact, oral sex with an unprotected partner, or direct contact with an infected area.
For example, infants may develop genital warts from direct manual contact rather than sexual contact. Warts are typically removed by surgery, laser ablation, electrodessication or cryo-removal with liquid nitrogen. There are also various ointments and creams available to remove visible warts. Injectable immunomodulating drugs, such as interferon, are options for difficult cases pf genital warts.
Genital warts causes are over 100 strains of HPV. Some strains cause warts normally associated with skin, but do not cause venereal warts. The particular strains responsible as genital wart causes have been positively identified as have the so called “oncological” strains of HPV associated with various cancers.
Condoms can reduce the chance of exposure to HPV if used properly, but birth control has been associated with an indirect increase in the risk of exposure. It is theorized that birth control increases the probability of sexual activity increasing the risk of exposure to partners with genital warts.
Of the various forms of birth control available only condoms provide a reliable reduction in transmission risk for HPV. Gardasil provides the best option for HPV prevention.
The vaccine is given prior to exposure to the HPV virus and confers immunity to the strains of HPV that cause venereal warts as well as several of the oncologic or cancer causing strains. This vaccine and safe sex practices are the best defense against known genital warts causes.