- What Is It?
An infection caused by the virus called the human papiloma virus (HPV).
- How Can I Get It?
Sexual contact (vaginal, oral or anal) or skin to skin contact with someone who has genital warts. The virus can be passed even when no warts are seen.
- What Are the Symptoms?
YOU MAY HAVE NO SYMPTOMS. Some symptoms can be small, painless cauliflower bumps that grow in or around the vagina or anus. There may be slight itching or irritation, especially with many warts. Warts may be found on the cervix (inside the vagina) where they are not noticed.
- How Can I Know For Sure?
One of the following:
- Bumps examined
- Pap Test
- Colposcopy (use of high powered microscope) may be used to examine tissue.
- How Is It Treated?
Once infected, the virus stays in your body, warts can be removed by: burning them off with chemicals, electric current, laser therapy, or freezing them off. Minor surgery may be necessary.
- What Can Happen If I Don’t Take Care Of It?
Warts can grow larger and become harder to remove and spread to new areas. Cervical warts can cause abnormal Pap smears, which are associated with cervical cancer. Cervical or vaginal warts at the time of child birth, can be passed to a baby and can spread the infection to sexual partner(s).
Young women, especially under the age of 28 are encouraged to get vaccinated to prevent HPV. The vaccination requires 3 injections given over several months.