(Anogenital Warts; Condyloma Acuminata; Human Papillomavirus [HPV]; Penile Warts; Venereal Warts; Warts, Genital)
Genital warts are growths or bumps that appear:
- On the vulva
- In or around the vagina or anus
- On the cervix
- On the penis, scrotum, groin, or thigh
- In the mouth or throat (rare)
Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted infection (STI).
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Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is spread during oral, genital, or anal sex with a an infected partner.
Warts can also be spread to an infant during birth from a mother who has genital warts.
Genital warts are more common in young adults.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
- Skin to skin contact with an infected person
- Having more than one sex partner
- Sex without condoms
- Sex at an early age
- Prior STIs
The warts often look like fleshy, raised growths. They can have a cauliflower shape and often appear in groups. Some warts may be flat. The warts may not be easy to see. Warts can take 3 weeks to 18 months to appear after the infection.
Warts usually do not cause problems, but a person may have:
- Bleeding or irritation on contact
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. A pelvic exam may be done in women. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
A biopsy may be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
There is no cure. The virus stays in the body.
Treatment depends on the size of the warts and where they are on the body. Not all warts need to be treated. Some may go away on their own, but others may stay. Some warts may also get larger or spread.
Warts may be removed by:
- A cream, ointment, resin, solution, or acid medicine put on the skin
- Cryosurgery (freezing)
- Electrocautery (burning)
- Laser treatment
- Surgery to remove large warts
The warts may come back after treatment.
- Condyloma acuminatum. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/condyloma-acuminatum.
- Genital warts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hpv.
- Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html.
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