Genital warts

Alternative Names

Condylomata acuminata; Penile warts; Human papilloma virus (HPV); Venereal warts; Condyloma; HPV DNA test; Sexually transmitted disease (STD)

Definition of Genital warts

Genital warts are soft, wart-like growths on the skin and mucus membranes of the genitals in men and women. Genital warts are a type of sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The virus that causes genital warts is called human papilloma virus (HPV). More than 70 different types of HPV exist.

Symptoms

Genital warts can be raised or flat, and are usually flesh-colored. They may appear as cauliflower-like growths. Sometimes they are so small and flat that they cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Signs and tests

Flesh-colored to white, flat or raised, single or clustered warts may be seen anywhere on the genitals.

Treatment

Genital warts must be treated by a doctor. Do NOT use over-the-counter remedies meant for other kinds of warts.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most sexually active young women become infected with HPV. In many cases, HPV goes away on its own.

Review

Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/22/2010

Female reproductive anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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