Condyloma (Genital Warts): Symptoms, Testing and Treatment
Genital warts are caused by a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). There are many types of HPV. The HPV virus can stay in your skin, and warts can develop again. Warts may go away without treatment but this can take many months. You can still pass the virus on, and the warts may come back.
What are genital warts?
Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted infection, caused by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
Genital warts are passed on through vaginal, anal or oral sex.
However with the right treatment this virus can be cleared up and managed over time.
If you recognise any of the symptoms it’s important you seek treatment as soon as possible. Please talk to your Alphega Pharmacist who’ll be able to give you more advice and information on where to get support.
Symptoms of genital warts
One or more painless growths or lumps around your vagina, penis or anus
Itching or bleeding from your genitals or anus
If there’s a change to your normal flow of pee i.e. sideways, that doesn’t go away
However, if you don’t have any of these symptoms but your sexual partner has genital warts, you may still have the virus.
What should I do if I have genital warts?
If you have one or more of the above symptoms or your sexual partner has genital warts, speak to your local Alphega Pharmacist for advice. Alternatively you can visit your nearest sexual health clinic where they’ll be able to see and test you straight away.
Your pharmacist will advise you on what to do and if needed, refer you to a Doctor for further treatment.
Treatment can include a cream or liquid, freezing or minor surgery. Early detection could help get rid of the warts and prevent them being passed on.
How do I prevent genital warts spreading?
You can stop the passing of genital warts by either; not having sex with a partner if you or they have the virus, or using a condom every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Genital warts and pregnancy
If you’re pregnant and have genital warts you must seek medical advice immediately because they:
- Can grow and multiply
- Might appear for the first time or come back after a long time of not being there
- Can be treated safely but some treatments should be avoided
- May be removed if they’re very big, to avoid problems during birth
- Could affect how you give birth
- May be passed to the baby during birth as the virus can cause infection in the baby’s throat or genitals.
Treatment for genital warts
Treatment for genital warts needs to be prescribed by a doctor. The type of treatment you'll be offered depends on what your warts are like. The doctor or nurse will discuss this with you.
Cream or liquid: a few times a week for several weeks, you can apply it yourself but in some cases you may need to go for a doctor or nurse to apply it – these treatments can cause soreness, irritation or a burning sensation.
Surgery: a doctor or nurse can cut, burn or laser the warts off – this can cause irritation or scarring.
Freezing: a doctor or nurse freezes the warts, usually every week for 4 weeks – this can cause soreness.
It may take weeks or months for treatment to work, and the warts may come back. In some people the treatment doesn't work. There's no cure for genital warts but it's possible for your body to clear the virus over time.