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What Are Genital Warts?

What Are Genital Warts?

Most people are familiar with the phrase “genital warts,” but a surprising number of folks aren’t sure what they are, how they spread, or what to do if you suspect you have them. That’s why the providers at Urgent Care of Ada, in Ada, Oklahoma, created this helpful guide. 

Our team is committed to patient education. With knowledge in hand, you’re empowered to protect yourself as needed and enjoy a healthy sexual life. The following is what you need to know about genital warts.

Understanding genital warts

If you have small bumps on the inside or outside of your genitals, you could have genital warts. These growths are typically small and blend in with the color of your skin. You may only have one wart, or you may have a cluster. 

Genital warts don’t usually cause pain, but they can trigger other uncomfortable symptoms, including:

Depending on their location, genital warts sometimes bleed because of friction or irritation. And though they might look similar to warts on other body parts, they aren’t the same. 

Most cases of genital warts occur after infection by a virus called HPV (human papillomavirus), which affects about 75% of sexually active teens and adults. 

Many different strains of HPV exist, and most aren’t harmful. In other words, most don’t cause genital warts or other serious issues, like cervical cancer.

However, the virus is highly contagious. That means if you’re sexually active, you’re at risk of getting genital warts. Your risk increases for getting HPV and genital warts if:

You get genital warts when you have sexual intercourse with a person who has one of the strains of HPV that causes genital warts. The bumps don’t show up right away, however. Sometimes it takes months or years after you’re infected for the warts to appear.

Diagnosing and treating genital warts

If you suspect you have genital warts, never use an over-the-counter wart remover! This can damage the delicate skin in your genital area. 

Keep in mind that treating your warts doesn’t cure the strain of HPV that triggers them in the first place. No cure exists for HPV, so you can still pass the infection to others even after treatment. 

It’s important to seek medical help for genital warts, however. This is because treating the active warts improves your discomfort and reduces the risk of passing along the infection to your partner(s).

If you’re worried about genital warts, the best thing to do is to schedule a confidential STD test with a provider at Urgent Care of Ada. Once your provider confirms you have genital warts, they recommend the right treatment plan based on the location, size, and number of warts you have. 

Common and effective treatments for genital warts may include:

Because women can develop genital warts deep inside their body, your provider may give you a referral to a women’s health specialist.

If you’re worried about genital warts or another sexually transmitted infection, don’t wait to schedule an appointment over the phone or online at Urgent Care of Ada. You can also walk into our urgent care clinic for same-day testing and treatment.

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