Genital warts, also known as venereal warts, are small cauliflower-shaped lesions that may appear flat or raised in the anal and genital areas. These flesh-colored warts are normally small, approximately 2 millimeters in diameter, but may grow bigger and expand into huge clusters. Genital warts are cause by human papillomavirus (HPV). A lot of over-the-counter, prescription, and invasive treatments for genital warts are available. However, you must understand that these only serve to eliminate the symptoms. They only remove the genital warts but not the root cause of the problem – the HPV.
HPV can remain latent in your system for long periods of time without showing any symptoms so it is hard to pinpoint whether you already have it in your body. The best way to find out is to consult your doctor and have yourself tested. If you do have it, he/she will recommend the suitable therapy option for you depending on your medical and sexual history and on the size and location of your genital warts. If your test results return negative, it doesn’t mean that you should stop doing something about genital warts. Instead, you should focus on the prevention of genital warts.
Genital warts may be a sexually transmitted disease, but the virus does not require the exchange of bodily fluids during intercourse in order to be passed on to another person. Instead, it is spread through direct skin contact with an infected person. Thus, you may get genital warts not just through vaginal and anal sex, but also through oral sex, which may result in the formation of warts in the mouth and throat areas. Furthermore, using forms of barrier protection such as condoms won’t totally wipe out the chances of you contracting the disease. According to studies, they may only reduce your risk of getting the virus. They don’t completely cover the genital area so skin-to-skin contact is still a possibility. However, it would not hurt if you have protected sex.
Abstinence is the only sure-fire way to save yourself from getting HPV, but you may also avoid getting genital warts by adapting healthier and safer sex practices. If your partner still has visible warts, it would be better to refrain from having sexual contact until all of his/her warts have been eliminated. It would also help that you talk to your partner about your sexual history so that you will know whether or not you both need to be screened for infection.
If you’re a woman, you can opt to be vaccinated against cervical cancer. This new vaccine called “Gardasil” offers protection from four strains of HPV, which cause cancer and genital warts. It was approved for use by women from ages 13 to 26 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This vaccine is most effective if administered to girls before becoming sexually active.
Finally, the easiest way to prevent genital warts is to boost your immune system through proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Having a weak immune system has been proven to trigger the activity of HPV in your system and set off the outbreak of genital warts. Exercise, avoid stress, eat the right food, and take dietary supplements if necessary.