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What are Genital Warts?
Genital warts are non-cancerous lumps which develop due to an infection on the skin, usually around the genitals, causing varying levels of discomfort, itching and mental upset. Although they are not always visible as a wart, the skin around the affected area may be darker in colour when flared up and a patient may still develop other symptoms including unusual discharge, itching, bleeding or a burning sensation. The warts themselves can sometimes appear alone or else in groups; and as well as affecting the genitals directly, they may also develop on the thighs or upon or around the mouth, lips, tongue and throat if oral contact has occurred.
What causes Genital Warts?
There are a vast number of human papilloma viruses - over one hundred in fact - and around 40 of these are the cause of genital warts. The virus is transferred through skin to skin contact and then lives in the thin, flat cells found on the surface. It is drawn to the mucus membranes found around the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis head and anus and as such, during any sexual contact including oral sex, the virus is easily transferred. For this reason, it is considered to be an STI though it is worth noting that penetration is not necessary for the transmission to occur as the virus is found on the skin itself.
What are the common symptoms of Genital Warts?
Genital warts usually develop between one and three months after exposure to the virus, but anywhere up to a year is also feasible. Once carrying the virus, some people may continue to have repeat flare-ups throughout their life whilst others may have very few, if any, repeats.
Although in some cases the warts themselves may not be visible to the eye, some of the symptoms which go hand in hand with them may still appear. For example, you may still experience itching, burning, bleeding or general discomfort of the genitals. Women may also develop an unusual discharge and many sufferers find that their urination begins to come out at a different angle due to the warts changing its flow path. The warts themselves can be very uncomfortable and the area where they develop can be painful.
For those who develop the warts themselves, it is important to stop any sexual contact as they are particularly easy to catch during an outbreak.
What Are the Risks of Genital Warts?
Some strains of HPV can cause cancer which is why some are considered high risk and some considered to be low risk. The versions which cause 90% of genitals warts are, according to this study by the National Library of Medicine, HPV 6 and 11 and whilst there is still a chance that they may cause cancer to develop, it is far more rare with these low-risk strains.
Over the counter creams made for warts on the hands or feet are not designed to be used on the genitals as they are designed to work on a different HPV strain. As such, ensure you use a prescribed antiviral cream such as Warticon or Aldara when looking to treat your genital herpes.
Although warts are rarely a danger to the physical health of the carrier, some of the HPV strains can be a higher risk to long term health so it is best to get checked by your GP or local sexual health clinic if you are concerned that you may have come into contact with someone suffering from them.
How do you treat Genital Herpes?
The first step is to confirm whether you have picked up the virus if you are concerned that you may have come into skin to skin contact with someone who has it. A doctor will likely need to perform a physical examination to check whether warts are developing in the suspected areas which may include a pelvic examination and/or a PAP test (smear) which allows them to test cells from your cervix to see whether HPV is present.
If it is discovered that you have genital warts, you will be advised that they will likely clear up on their own but, if you prefer, there are methods which help to remove the warts and clear them up more quickly. Your doctor may prescribe you with a topical treatment such as Aldara, available from Click Pharmacy, which causes the body to recognise the warts as abnormal cells, promote inflammation and remove them naturally, or else a doctor may be able to perform a minor procedure such as excision or freezing of the warts themselves.
Can I buy Genital Herpes treatment online?
You can buy genital wart treatments online via Click Pharmacy simply and quickly and have it sent to your chosen address discreetly. Some patients prefer to speak to their GP before purchasing their prescription online to ensure they have the correct product, but you may be more comfortable booking a private appointment online with one of Click Pharmacy’s doctors. They will be able to assess whether the treatment is the correct option and create a prescription for you. From there you can purchase your medication via the site right away.
Genital Warts Timeline
How long does it take to treat Genital Warts?
The initial outbreak of genital warts is usually the most severe and the length of time this first flare up takes to clear, along with subsequent episodes, depends on your body’s capability to fight the virus and whether or not you use an antiviral medication to support it in doing so.
The initial cycle may take 14 to 21 days to complete, for other people an outbreak may take weeks or months to clear, whilst for some, it may come and go within a few days - there is no set rule. The use of medicated, antiviral creams can speed up the process as they assist the body in attacking the virus and removing the warts. It is advised by the NHS not to smoke whilst using a treatment as many of the medications work more effectively this way.
Whilst the warts are clearing avoid sex in any form as they are still contagious and able to be easily passed on to a partner even with a condom.
To discuss any concerns or questions you may have, book an appointment with the experts at Click pharmacy.
Patient Information Leaflet
Always read the patient information leaflet before starting your treatment.
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