Genital warts(Condyloma Acuminatum) are the soft growths that appear on your genitals, which can cause discomfort, itching, and pain. This is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Usually, this virus is the major cause of all STIs in women and men. Furthermore, those people who are sexually active are more prone to complications of HPV such as genital warts. These infections are more dangerous in women because certain strains of HPV can also cause cancer of the vulva and cervix.
Genital warts Symptoms:
Genital warts are mostly transmitted through unprotected sexual activities, for example, anal, oral, and vaginal sex. You may not develop symptoms of genital warts for several weeks or months. Condyloma Acuminatum (Genital warts) is not always visible to your eyes, because sometimes they are very small and color similar to your skin or maybe darker. The top of the growth looks like cauliflower or feels slightly bumpy or smooth to the touch.
Causes of Genital warts(Condyloma Acuminatum):
Most genital warts are due to HPV. There are 30 to 40 strains of this virus that can affect your genitals, but only specific strains can cause genital warts. This virus transmits through skin-to-skin contact, that’s why considered an STI.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is a very common virus and almost all sexually active people can get it at some point in life. However, HPV not always leads to complications like genital warts. While in some cases it goes away without causing any health issue.
Thus genital warts occur due to some strains of HPV that are different from the strains, which causes warts of your other body parts and hands. While warts do not spread from someone’s genitals to hands or vice versa.
Risk factors for Genital warts:
All sexually active people are at risk of getting genital warts. But these are more common in those who:
- are below 30 years of age
- have compromised immune functions
- have a child abuse history
- are a child of a woman who had HPV during childbirth
Possible complications of HPV:
HPV is the leading cause of several cancers, especially cancer of the cervix. It may also cause some precancerous changes in the cells of the cervix, commonly known as dysplasia. On the other hand, some strains of HPV can also lead to cancer of the vulva (an external genital organ of the female). And in males, the possible complications of the HPV virus include cancer of the anal and penis.
Genital warts Diagnosis:
To diagnose this problem, first, your health professional asks about your sexual history and health. In which you discuss the symptoms that you experience and whether you are engaged in sex, such as oral sex, oral dams, or without protection (condom). Your doctor can also physically examine the area, where you suspect genital warts may be starting.
Genital warts in females:
As warts occur deep inside a female’s body, doctors need to do a physical examination of the pelvic. So, they apply a slightly acidic solution on the pelvic, which makes warts more visible to the human eye. Your health expert can also go for a Pap test (commonly called a pap smear test), in which your doctor takes a swab on the infected area to collect cells from a female’s cervix. Then these infected cells are subjected to tests, to check the presence of HPV in them.
Some types of HPV give abnormal results on a Pap smear test, which indicated precancerous changes in cervix cells. And if your doctor detects these abnormalities, then you may go for further screening through a specialized process known as a colonoscopy.
If you are a woman and believe that you have contracted a form of HPV that can cause cervical cancer, then your doctor will perform a DNA test to detect which strain of HPV you have in your body. On the other hand, there is no HPV test available for males.
Genital warts in males:
In males, genital warts appear on the groin, thighs, penis, scrotum, and around or inside the anus. And in females, they appear at the cervix, inside or outside the vagina, and inside or outside the anus. They may also appear on the tough, lips, throat, or mouth of a person who had oral sex with a person having HPV.
Even if these warts are not visible, some common symptoms include:
- Vaginal discharge for women
And it warts become enlarged; they can cause more pain and discomfort.
How to treat Condyloma Acuminatum(genital warts)?
Usually, visible genital warts go away with time, HPV has the potential to linger in your skin cells. This means; you may get several outbreaks in your lifetime. So, it is important to manage its symptoms before you transmit them to others. Some studies found that genital warts can also transfer to others even if they are not visible to you.
You may want to treat warts to minimize their appearance and pain. However, you can’t treat them over-the-counter (OTC). Your doctor may also suggest topical genital wart treatments such as:
- topical application of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) on warts
- apply imiquimod (aldara) on warts
- apply podofilox (Condylox) and podophyllin
On the other hand, if these physical warts treatments do not go away with time, then the doctor removes these warts with minor surgery. Some common treatments to remove warts include:
- laser treatments
- burn warts using electric currents (electrocautery)
- cutting off or excision of warts
- give interferon drug through injections
- freezing warts (cryosurgery)
7 Home remedies for (Condyloma acuminatum)Genital warts:
OTC treatments are for hand warts not for genital warts, because genital and hand warts are caused by different strains of HPV. A treatment that is designated to treat warts on your hands and other body parts is stronger than treatments used for genital warts. So, using the wrong treatment can be dangerous.
Before thinking of home remedies for the treatment of condyloma acuminatum (genital warts), It is paramount you first consult your doctor before trying anything at home. Some Homemade remedies used for the treatment of genital warts include:
1. Tea tree oil:
This oil contains strong anti-fungal and anti-viral agents. Several clinical trials found that tea tree oil can be effective in reducing Condyloma Acuminatum (Genital warts). Topical application of tea tree oil can cause inflammation, irritation, and burning sensation, which can reduce the size of warts. Don’t take this oil internally through the vagina or mouth. Just apply it externally for several weeks, and stop its use if it causes too much irritation.
2. Green tea:
Green tea extract is effective to treat genital warts. Its extract is also available in the form of an ointment known as Sinecatechins (Veregen and Polyphenon E), use according to the prescription of a doctor. Simple you can purchase green tea extract, add some drops of coconut oil in it, and apply on warts.
Some evidence reveals that garlic is good in clearing warts. You may apply garlic extract directly on your warts. Or you can make a mixture of oil and garlic extract and then apply it to warts.
Read more: Kenya: Women Raise Concerns Over Missing Periods After Covid-19 Jab.
4. Apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar works similarly to acidic solutions that are used to kill viruses. So, take a cotton ball, gauze, or a Q-tip tip it into apple cider vinegar, and apply it on warts.
Vegetables are full of nutrients; provide several health benefits and helps in clearing genital warts. Add cruciferous vegetables to your diet like:
- Brussels sprout
These vegetables are rich in indole 3-carbinol (I3C), which reduces wart size. That’s why health experts recommend eating 3 to 5 servings of vegetables daily.
6. Vitamin B12 and folate:
Studies reveal that deficiency of folate and vitamin B12 is responsible to increase the number of contracting HPV in the human body. Taking supplements of folate, vitamin B12, or multivitamins can help your body in fighting against HPV and cleaning up warts.
7. Dietary and lifestyle modifications:
Genital warts increase strain in your body. It becomes very difficult for you to deal with other health issues along with warts. So, eliminate the use of immune stressors such as a diet rich in processed, refined, and processed foods and smoking. Furthermore, avoid the intake of allergens (food additives, dairy, and corn), red meat, trans fats, and caffeine.
Genital warts Prevention:
HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) is available to protect women and men from HPV that causes genital warts. This vaccine also protects from HPV strain that causes cancer of the cervix in women. Another vaccine Cervarix is also available, which protects from cervical cancer but not from warts. A vaccine is given to sexually active persons, it is administrated in a series of two shots according to your age.
Using dental dams or condoms during sex can also reduce the risk of HPV transmission. Important thing is to use a physical barrier to prevent its transmission.
Genital warts are the common complication of HPV, which is treatable. They may disappear with time, but it is important to prevent their return and other complications. If you think you have warts then consult your doctor.
Also, talk to your partner about your condition. It may be difficult but being open can protect you from HPV and Condyloma Acuminatum (Genital warts).