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Facts About Genital Warts

Genital warts, also known as condyloma, or condylomata acuminata, is a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection. It is spread during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner. Genital warts are the most easily recognized sign of genital HPV infection.

Genital warts often occur in clusters and can be very tiny or can spread into large masses in the genital or anal area. In women, the warts occur on the outside and inside of the vagina, on the cervix, uterus, or around the anus. While genital warts are as prevalent in men, the symptoms of the disease may be less obvious. When present, they usually are seen on the tip of the penis. They also may be found on the shaft of the penis, on the scrotum, or around the anus. Rarely, genital warts also can develop in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sex with an infected person.

Genital warts often disappear even without treatment. In other cases, they eventually may develop a fleshy, small raised growth. There is no way to predict whether the warts will grow or disappear. Therefore, if you suspect you have genital warts, you should be examined and treated, if necessary.

Depending on factors such as the size and location of the genital warts, a doctor will offer you one of several ways to treat them.

* Imiquimod, a topical immune response cream which you can apply to the affected area

* A 20% podophyllin anti-mitotic solution, which you can apply to the affected area and later wash off

* A 0.5% podofilox solution, applied to the affected area but shouldn’t be washed off

* A 5% 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) cream

* Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)

* Pulsed dye laser

* Liquid nitrogen cryosurgery

If you are pregnant, you should not use podophyllin or podofilox because they are absorbed by the skin and may cause birth defects in your baby. Also, you should not use 5-fluorouracil cream if you are trying to become pregnant or if there is a possibility that you could be pregnant.

If you have small warts, the doctor can remove them by freezing them, burning them, or with laser treatment. Occasionally, the doctor will have to use surgery to remove large warts that have not responded to other treatments.

Some doctors use the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, which they inject directly into the warts, to treat warts that have returned after removal by traditional means. The drug is expensive, however, and does not reduce the rate that the genital warts return.

Although treatments can get rid of the warts, they do not get rid of the HPV virus, so warts can recur after treatment. However, the body’s immune system typically clears the virus anywhere from 6 months to a year. There is even some suggestion that effective treatment of the wart may aid the body’s immune response.

The virus that causes genital warts is spread by skin-skin contact. Condoms do not adequately protect against genital warts, because the infected spot may not be covered by a condom. The only reliable prevention is to have no skin contact with potentially infected tissue.

There is an HPV vaccine that is effective against the most common types and preferably given before exposure as early as 11 years of age.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you or someone you know has genital warts, consult your doctor for the latest treatment options available.

Until next time #GYNEGirls and #Preggos…

Dr. Drai

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Dr. Drai

Dr. Drai

Dr. Draion M. Burch, DO (Dr. Drai) – a highly respected, board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist – is a nationally-recognized author, speaker, consultant, and go-to media expert on women’s health and transgender health issues. He travels the country to meet with women one-on-one and in groups to provide and instruct on healthcare. Although Dr. Drai may be requested to spread his medical expertise to all four corners of the U.S., he always makes time to genuinely help those in need. As a pragmatic physician who offers endless charisma, high energy, and a larger-than-life personality, his “bedside manner” makes it obvious why his patients have named Dr. Drai “America’s OBGYN.” Dr. Drai is the founder and chief medical advisor of DrDrai.com, where he discusses actionable ideas and real-world strategies to help women take control of their health. As an openly gay gynecologist he has patients flocking to him and his website for not only his medical expertise, but because of the security they feel in the way he cares for, relates to, and teaches women about subjects ranging from embarrassing vaginal care to serious sexual assault. His mission: Real medical advice, simplified. Dr. Drai takes his unique brand to the camera on his YouTube channel to spill his popular “Medical T” (TIPS) helping his self-titled #Preggos, #GYNEGirls and #GENTs pursue a healthier life. Dr. Drai’s on-point advice on off-the-wall questions about sexual health issues has many calling him a “sexpert.” Dr. Drai earned his Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine degree from The Ohio University and completed his internship and residency at Michigan State University.

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