HPV Genital Warts Symptoms And Testing

HPV genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and are common throughout the world. Three quarters of Americans will have some form of HPV during their lives, so it’s important to learn about HPV genital warts symptoms and testing.

While genital warts are not usually dangerous, they can cause any of the following:

  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • An unpleasant or embarrassing appearance to some patients
  • A higher risk of cervical or anal cancer with certain strains of HPV

Whether you notice HPV genital warts or not, the chances of infection are high, but HPV is often confused with other similar conditions. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you believe that you have HPV genital warts and how you can proceed with testing and treatment.

The Symptoms Of Genital Warts

Genital warts may appear as small, white lumps around or on the testicles or labia. They can also spread to the anus. HPV can be accompanied by a discharge when warts are on the cervix, which can cause women infected with genital warts to panic. Although discharge and bleeding can occur, this is usually the extent of danger from an HPV infection.

There are many different types of genital warts and appearance can vary from one person to the next, so unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell whether a certain case is a sign of genital warts or another disease or condition. In fact, some strains of HPV don’t actually create visible warts on patients; many people with these strains of HPV are completely unaware of the disease.

The only way to definitively find out whether a person is infected with HPV genital warts is to have medical testing done if you suspect an infection or have had contact with someone later diagnosed with HPV genital warts.

Testing For Genital Warts

To test for genital warts, doctors will often apply a solution to warts on the genitals that will turn them a bright white. The solution is not painful and can assist a doctor in making a diagnosis. In many cases, doctors can tell whether a patient has genital warts simply by observing warts, although it’s helpful to choose an experienced doctor or dermatologist who has seen cases of HPV warts in the past.

As noted above, genital warts are not necessarily dangerous to patients, but certain strains may increase the chances of cervical cancer and anal cancer. Doctors can perform a swab or a PAP smear to check for the existence of these strains of HPV, even if there aren’t any visible warts on the patient. You should get checked for HPV if you have any symptoms or if you have had sexual contact with a person who was infected, as testing is best way to find out whether you have warts and to explore treatment options.

Treatment And The HPV Vaccine

Genital warts are not a serious condition in most cases. Symptoms usually disappear on their own without treatment, although this can take a while depending on the patient and the strain of HPV.

The HPV vaccine has received a lot of press in recent years, as it can prevent a patient from being infected with some of the more dangerous strains of HPV. Sexually active women should receive this vaccine after being tested, as it can help to lower the chances of cervical cancer. Whether you’re a male or female, if you aren’t infected you should ask your doctor for information and advice about the HPV genital warts vaccine.


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