Genital warts, which are raised lesions on the skin that occur as a result of HPV infection, which can be of different sizes and commonness, reduce the quality of life.
The most common cause of genital warts is HPV 6 and HPV 11 types. Genital warts can occur in both men and women. The most common route of transmission is direct contact with an infected skin or mucous membranes.
It is usually transmitted sexually
The penetration and settlement of the virus through cracks in the skin is enough for infectiousness. However, the risk of transmission is higher because genital warts contain a much greater number of HPV.
- After the HPV virus enters through the skin cracks and settles, it can remain latent and wait for months without causing any symptoms and can occur when the person’s immune system is weakened.
- Hygiene is very important in genital warts. Shaking hands with a person carrying the virus who does not wash their hands after toileting poses a risk for transmission.
- Strengthening the immune system is also important to prevent the appearance and recurrence of the disease.
How is it transmitted?
- It is usually transmitted through unprotected sex. But it can also be transmitted through direct skin contact with someone who has HPV on their skin.
- Genital warts are not transmitted by hugging, sharing towels, common cutlery and toilet use.
The incidence rates in women and men are similar.
- The incidence of HPV infection in men does not change according to age, but it changes with age in women. It increases especially until the age of 25-30 and then decreases and then increases again during menopause.
- While high-risk HPV is the most common in sexually transmitted warts in women , the low and high risk HPV type rates detected in men are the same.
Diagnosis and treatment of genital warts
Risk factors include unprotected sex with more than one partner, having another sexually transmitted infection, starting sex at a young age, and having a weak immune system.
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention methods are as follows:
- Generally, the diagnosis can be easily made during visual examination. In suspicious cases, the diagnosis is confirmed by pathological examination by taking biopsy. The main goal in the treatment of genital warts is the complete elimination of the wart. For this purpose, surgical methods and drug treatment methods can be used.
- The treatment method is decided according to the size, number and location of the warts. Genital wart treatment options include surgical removal of the wart, burning the lesion with cautery and laser, freezing the genital wart with cryotherapy method.
- Cream treatment can be used to reduce the complaints caused by the wart and to shrink the lesion. These are drugs that provide treatment by chemically burning the wart tissue.
- Since these treatments are not aimed at HPV, which causes warts, a person who has taken the virus into his body may have a recurrence of the wart from time to time. After the warts are completely eliminated, supplementary drugs that strengthen the immune system can be used to prevent their recurrence.
When warts are left untreated, they may disappear on their own or become larger. If there is a smoking habit in HPV carriers and a family history of cancer, the risk of cancer increases even more. For this reason, routine follow-up of every patient with HPV infection with screening tests is important.
- The most effective prevention method from HPV-related diseases is to get HPV vaccine before the first sexual intercourse. With these vaccines, warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11 can be prevented.
- The most important thing for genital warts is to be protected and not to cause a disease. In this regard, it is absolutely necessary to evaluate the vaccine. If a small wart develops, a doctor should be consulted and the necessary treatment should be applied.