Clinical Pearl of the Day: Genital Warts
Genital warts are one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Nearly all sexually active people will become infected with at least 1 type of human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts.
- Genital warts affect the moist tissues of the genital area. They can look like small, flesh-colored bumps or have a cauliflower-like appearance. In many cases, the warts are too small to be visible.
- Some strains of genital HPV can cause genital warts, whereas others can cause cancer. Vaccines can help protect against certain strains of genital HPV.
- Symptoms include flesh-colored, brown and pink swellings, itching, discomfort, and bleeding with intercourse.
- Risk factors include having unprotected sex, having a partner with STIs, becoming sexually active at a young age, and having a compromised immune system for HIV drugs.
- Diagnosis includes pelvic exam, pap test, and HPV test.
- Treatment options include imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara), podophyllin (Condylox), trichloroacetic acid, and sinecatechins (Veregen). Other alternatives include surgery, electrocautery, and laser treatment.