Genital warts are soft, moist, or flesh colored and appear in the genital area within weeks or months after infection. They sometimes appear in clusters that resemble cauliflower-like bumps, and are either raised or flat, small or large. Genital warts can show up in women on the vulva and cervix, and inside and surrounding the vagina and anus. In men, genital warts can appear on the scrotum or penis. There are cases where genital warts have been found on the thigh and groin.
Genital warts are very contagious and are spread during oral, vaginal, or anal sex with an infected partner. They are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or (rarely) oral sex with someone who is infected. About two-thirds of people who have sexual contact with a partner with genital warts will develop warts, usually within 3 months of contact.
In men, genital warts are less common. If present, they usually are seen on the tip of the penis. They also may be found on the shaft of the penis, on the scrotum, or around the anus.
There are treatments for genital warts, though they often disappear even without treatment. There is no way to predict whether the warts will grow or disappear. Therefore, if you suspect you have genital warts, you should be examined and treated, if necessary.
Depending on factors such as the size and location of your genital warts, your health care provider will offer you one of several ways to treat them.
• Imiquimod cream
• 20 percent podophyllin antimitotic solution
• 0.5 percent podofilox solution
• 5 percent 5-fluorouracil cream
• Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
If you have small warts, your health care provider can remove them by one of three methods.
• freezing (cryosurgery)
• burning (electrocautery)
• laser treatment
If you have large warts that have not responded to other treatment, you may have to have surgery to remove them.
Some health care providers use the antiviral drug alpha interferon, which they inject directly into the warts, to treat warts that have returned after removal by traditional means. The drug is expensive, however, and does not reduce the rate that the genital warts return.
Hope that helps!