genital warts

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Related to genital warts: HPV

Genital Warts



Genital warts, which are also called condylomata acuminata or venereal warts, are growths in the genital area caused by a sexually transmitted papillomavirus. A papillomavirus is a virus that produces papillomas, or benign growths on the skin and mucous membranes.


Genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the general population. It is estimated that 1% of sexually active people between the ages of 18 and 45 have genital warts; however, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing indicates that as many as 40% of sexually active adults carry the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes genital warts.
Genital warts vary somewhat in appearance. They may be either flat or resemble raspberries or cauliflower in appearance. The warts begin as small red or pink growths and grow as large as four inches across, interfering with intercourse and childbirth. The warts grow in the moist tissues of the genital areas. In women, they occur on the external genitals and on the walls of the vagina and cervix; in men, they develop in the urethra and on the shaft of the penis. The warts then spread to the area behind the genitals surrounding the anus.
Risk factors for genital warts include:
  • multiple sexual partners
  • infection with another STD
  • pregnancy
  • anal intercourse
  • poor personal hygiene
  • heavy perspiration

Causes and symptoms

There are about 80 types of human papillomavirus. Genital warts are caused by HPV types 1, 2, 6, 11, 16, and 18. HPV is transmitted by sexual contact. The incubation period varies from one to six months.
The symptoms include bleeding, pain, and odor as well as the visible warts.


The diagnosis is usually made by examining scrapings from the warts under a darkfield microscope. If the warts are caused by HPV, they will turn white when a 5% solution of white vinegar is added. If the warts reappear, the doctor may order a biopsy to rule out cancer.


No treatment for genital warts is completely effective because therapy depends on destroying skin infected by the virus. There are no drugs that will kill the virus directly.


Genital warts were treated until recently with applications of podophyllum resin, a corrosive substance that cannot be given to pregnant patients. A milder form of podophyllum, podofilox (Condylox), has been introduced. Women are also treated with 5-fluorouracil cream, bichloroacetic acid, or trichloroacetic acid. All of these substances irritate the skin and require weeks of treatment.
Genital warts can also be treated with injections of interferon. Interferon works best in combination with podofilox applications.


Surgery may be necessary to remove warts blocking the patient's vagina, urethra, or anus. Surgical techniques include the use of liquid nitrogen, electrosurgery, and laser surgery.

Key terms

Condylomata acuminata — Another name for genital warts.
Papilloma — A benign growth on the skin or mucous membrane. Viruses that cause these growths are called human papillomaviruses (HPVs).
Podophyllum resin — A medication derived from the May apple or mandrake and used to treat genital warts.


Genital warts are benign growths and are not cancerous by themselves. Repeated HPV infection in women, however, appears to increase the risk of later cervical cancer. Women infected with HPV types 16 and 18 should have yearly cervical smears. Recurrence is common with all present methods of treatment—including surgery—because HPV can remain latent in apparently normal surrounding skin.


The only reliable method of prevention is sexual abstinence. The use of condoms minimizes but does not eliminate the risk of HPV transmission. The patient's sexual contacts should be notified and examined.



Foster, David C. "Vulvar and Vaginal Disease." In Current Diagnosis. Vol. 9. edited by Rex B. Conn, et al. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Co., 1997.
MacKay, H. Trent. "Gynecology." In Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment, 1998, edited by Stephen McPhee, et al., 37th ed. Stamford: Appleton & Lange, 1997.

genital warts

Warts occurring on the external genitalia. These are caused by the same papillomaviruses, of the papovavirus family, as any other warts but are sexually transmitted and, because of their situation are often more extensive and exuberant than other warts. They are often called condylomata acuminata and are commonly associated with cancer of the cervix of the uterus.


pl. genitalia
1. pertaining to reproduction, or the reproductive organs.
2. genitals, the reproductive organs, especially the external genital organs.

genital bursatti
genital campylobacteriosis
see bovine vibriosis.
genital ducts
male—efferent ductules, ductus epididymis, ductus deferens; female—uterine tubes (fallopian tubes, oviducts), uterus, vagina.
genital lock
the joining together of the dog and the bitch during coitus in which the enlarged penile bulb of the dog is held tightly in the bitch's vagina. The dog normally dismounts and stands back-to-back with the bitch, with the penis still locked in the vagina. Called also the 'tie'.
genital mycoplasmosis
see granular vaginitis.
genital organs
see penis, vulva, etc.
genital ridge
bilateral thickenings in the roof of the embryo's celom which are the primordia of the gonads.
genital squamous cell carcinoma
squamous cell carcinoma of the penis and prepuce and of the vulva.
genital system
the reproductive system including ovaries, ovarian bursa, uterine tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, vulva, vestibular glands of the female and testicles, epididymis, vas deferens, penis, prostate, seminal vesicles, bulbourethral glands, prepuce and scrotum of the male.
genital tract
from the ovaries to the vulva, from the testicles to the external urethral meatus.
genital tubercle
the eminence in the embryo which develops into the clitoris or penis.
genital-urinary system
the combined urinary and reproductive systems.
genital vibriosis
see bovine vibriosis.
genital warts
see genital papillomatosis.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 2006, the overall incidence of genital warts was 15.
The near disappearance of genital warts in young women 4 years after commencing a national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme; Sex Transm Infect.
and know what is going on inside your head, because it wasn't that long ago that the exact same things were going on inside my head," Ashton wrote, adding that with the system he and his wife developed, people can regain control of their genital wart infections so that once it goes away, it stays away.
5 per cent increase in the incidence rate of genital warts, from 31 per cent during the months of January to June, to 41.
HPV types 16 and 18, and associated precursor dysplastic lesions (CIN, VaIN, AIS), and genital warts caused by HPV 6 and 11.
Genital warts, also known as condylomata acuminate (other names include penile warts, venereal warts; Condyloma), are caused by the human papillomavirus: benign cellular outgrowths with HPV Types 6 and 11 causing 90% of genital warts cases.
Treatment guidelines from Europe and the US Centers for Disease Control advocate that many factors need to be taken into account when selecting an appropriate treatment for external genital warts.
Genital warts, genital herpes, urinary tract infections, and gonorrhea also turned up.
CHLAMYDIA and genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted disease among our respondents.
More than half of all sexually active people may carry the virus, which can cause outbreaks of genital warts.
HPV detection was also significantly more common among men who had genital warts at the time of the study than among those who did not (46% vs.
Phase III trials (20,000 participants) will determine the efficacy of the HPV L1 VLP vaccine by using prevention of type-related CIN I, genital warts, and CIN II/III as the endpoints.