Genital Warts

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on genital warts.

Questions & Answers

What are the symptoms of genital warts?

Only certain types of HPV cause genital warts. Other types of HPV, not related to genital warts, can cause abnormal cell changes on the genital skin, usually on a female's cervix.

What do warts look like?

Genital warts appear as growths or bumps. Warts may be raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large. They tend to be flesh-colored or whitish in appearance. Warts usually do not cause itching, burning, or pain.

Where can they appear?


Vulva (entire outer female genital area)


In or around the vagina

Scrotum (balls)

In or around the anus

In or around the anus

Groin (where the genital area meets the inner thigh)

Groin (where the genital area meets the inner thigh)

Cervix (less common than external warts)


How often can episodes occur?

How are they transmitted?


Sometimes, warts can be very hard to see. Also, it can be hard to tell the difference between a wart and normal bumps on the genital area. If someone thinks he or she has warts or have been exposed to HPV, they should go to a doctor or clinic. A doctor or nurse will check more closely and may use a magnifying lens to find smaller warts.

A biopsy is not necessary for diagnosing genital warts. This is only done if the bump is unusual looking or discolored.

To look for warts or other abnormal tissue, doctors or nurses may put acetic acid (vinegar) on the genitals. This causes warts to turn white and makes them easier to see, especially if they are viewed through a magnifying lens such as a colposcope. However, the vinegar can sometimes cause other normal bumps to be highlighted, so this method of diagnosis can be misleading.

There are no blood tests clinically available to diagnose a person for HPV.


Treatments done in the doctor's office include:

At-home prescription creams (these are only available by a prescription from a doctor):

IMPORTANT: Over-the-counter wart treatments should not be used in the genital area.

Reduce your risk

Any person who is sexually active can come across this common virus. Ways to reduce the risk are:

What about pregnancy and genital warts?


Steering Clear of Genital Warts

Genital warts — it's not the prettiest topic of conversation, but it's definitely something that needs to be discussed. Why? Because the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which causes genital warts, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. — yet almost three quarters of us have never heard of it! Source:


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