Genital warts are soft growths that mainly can be found on the genitals. Genital warts are considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI) produced by positive strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
However, the virus can be transmitted through skin to skin contact, touching infected surfaces and touching the genital skin back. Genital warts may cause pain, discomfort, and itching.
There are around 200 different types of HPV. Several might not cause any problems. Some cause warts on other parts of the body and not the genitals. Types six and eleven are most commonly linked to genital warts.
Symptoms and types
There are over a hundred different strains of the human papilloma virus. Only a couple of them cause most types of genital warts.
Most of the genital warts that are produced by HPV types six and eleven. These warts will typically grow for a period of six months.
Afterwards, they tend to stop growing. Further strains of HPV can cause warts on the feet or hands, in which are considered less contagious in comparison to genital warts. Also, some strains of HPV are classified as low-risk or high-risk that might lead to specific cancers.
Warts may appear as flesh-colored or gray swelling bumps in the genital area. If several warts are clustered together, they might have a cauliflower shape. In some other cases, the genital warts are so small that they can only be detected with a colposcopic biopsy exam of the cervix and vagina or a Pap smear.
Diagnosing Genital Warts
Diagnosing genital warts can be delicate, since people are usually too embarrassed to consult their GP.
Meanwhile, as genital warts are not always noticeable to the naked eye, the doctor might have to carry out some tests to ensure whether the patient is infected or not. Diagnosing genital warts in early stages can prevent any future complications.
Medical treatment for genital warts
Genital wart treatments that can be applied directly by the patient are such as:
· Imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara). This cream is supposed to boost the immune system's ability to fight genital warts. On the other hand, the cream carries many side effects such as redness of the skin., aches or pain, cough, rashes, and fatigue.
· Podophyllin and podofilox (Condylox).Podophyllin is a plant-based resin that destroys genital wart tissue. The doctor must apply this solution. Podofilox contains the same active compound, but can be safely applied by patients at home. This medication isn't suggested for use throughout pregnancy. Side effects can include mild skin irritation, sores or pain.
· Trichloroacetic acid (TCA). This chemical treatment burns off genital warts. TCA must always be applied by a doctor. Side effects can consist of mild skin irritation, sores or pain.
The patient may need surgery to remove larger warts, warts that don't respond to medications, or in case of pregnancy. Surgical choices contain:
· Electrocautery. This process uses an electrical current to burn off warts. This process will cause some pain and swelling after the procedure.
· Laser treatments. This method uses an intense beam of light that can be expensive and is typically kept for very widespread and tough-to-treat warts. Side effects can contain scarring and pain.
· Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy). Freezing works by producing a blister to form around the wart. As your skin heals, the lesions slough off, allowing new skin to appear. You may need repeated cryotherapy treatments. The main side effects include pain and swelling.
· Surgical excision. The doctor might use special tools to cut off warts.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the one of the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).
The majority of HPV are not harmful to people. Yet, some of those types can cause serious complications. There are more than forty types of HPV that can infect the genital areas, mouth and throat.
Oral HPV can appear as a squamous cell (thin and flat cells), such as those found in the membranes of the mouth, throat and vocal cords. In cases when the body does not fight off this virus, HPV can cause visible changes. Certain types of HPV can cause an oropharyngeal cancer. Cancer caused by HPV often takes years to develop after initially getting an HPV infection. It is unclear if having HPV alone causes oropharyngeal cancers, or if other factors (such as smoking or chewing tobacco) interact with HPV to cause these cancers.
More researches are needed to understand all the factors leading to oropharyngeal cancers.In comparison to more than one-hundred types of the viruses, papillary tumors in the mouth are caused by type 6,7,11,16, and 32. However, the most dangerous types are 11 and 6, because they cause a rare condition called "recurrent respiratory papillomatosis," in which warts are formed in the throat or other parts of the trachea, in which may cause suffocation if they multiply and cause a blockage in the airway,or hoarseness in the voice if they are locatedon the vocal cords .Thus, if a person is infected with HPV, and has hoarseness in his/her voice for more than a week, he/she should see a doctor for a speculum examination of the throat.
Signs and symptoms may include a persistent sore throat, earaches, hoarseness, enlarged lymph nodes, pain when swallowing, and unexplained weight loss. Some people have no signs or symptoms.
Ages, places and ratios of infection
Oral HPV can appear at any age, and can be transmitted from an infected mother to the infant, which may lead to milk rejection or suffocation.
However, most of the infection will appear in ages between 30-50 years old, and the research demonstrates that 7-8% of the tumors that appear on children are originally papillary tumors, and they infect men and women equally.
The most common places for their appearance in the mouth is on the tongue and beneath it as well, on the lips, and around them. They can appear in the throat, on the vocal cords and also within the trachea.
Genital warts, pimples or tumors appear with a smooth surface, usually painless, in some cases with a neck (Pedunculated), that is, it is connected to the surface by a small stalk.
They could be polypsaian in the beginning. The verrucous tumor may also look like a prominent ball with a bumpy surface similar to a Cauliflower. These bumps may be pointy or wide.
The warts may be white, or red or have the same color of the mucous oral membrane. The amount of keratin on the mucosal surface of the skin determines the color of warts.
Typically, one tumor appears and grows so fast up to a maximum size of 0.5 cm. or could reach up to 3 cm in some cases where it can block the airway and suffocate the patient.
Methods of diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis is usually done by taking a biopsy of the warts in order to ensure that it’s a genital wart and not a tumor. Also, a biopsy will determine the type of virus that causes the warts.
Treatment in conventional medicine is always surgical: the removal of warts either by laser or electric burning.
However, if the virus turns out to be 11, the tumor would be very rapid and violent. In cases of respiratory papilloma tumors for example, the treatment will be a continuous surgical removal of the tumor to prevent it from blocking the respiratory tract and thus prevent suffocation of the patient.
In some cases, respiratory papilloma tumors may turn into a squamous cell cancer, especially in smokers or patients who have been exposed to radiation therapy in the throat or who have weak immune systems such as people with diabetes or irritable bowel syndrome.