Causes of Genital Warts
Genital warts are said to be one of the most usual sexually transmitted diseases. These genital warts may manifest physically as cauliflower-shaped bumps that start as tiny lesions. The size could be around 2 millimeters in diameter, but have a huge chance to expand and grow into larger masses. Among women, genital warts developed inside and outside the cervix, vagina, uterus, or near the anus. Meanwhile, for men, genital warts could be found on the penis shaft, scrotum or anus region. In some cases, genital warts also appear for both men and women when they had a sexual intercourse with an infected person.
The virus causing genital warts is called the human papillomavirus or HPV. Among the 100 strains of this HPV, around 30 have the ability to infect genital area. Those strains are named as genital HPV. These strains can infect half of men and women active in sexual activities.
HPV can be categorized as either low-risk or high-risk. Apparently the high-risk HPV can be a cause of cancer of the vagina, cervix, anus, penis or throat. These strains are different from those strains causing genital warts. HPV’s type 16 is said to be associated with more than half of cases of cervical cancer. Meanwhile, type 18, 16, 31 and 45 are generally responsible for about 80 percent of the cases.
On the other hand, the low-risk types of HPV are those causing genital warts. Basically, about 90 percent of genital warts came from types 11 and 16 of HPV. Although they are low-risk, it is hard to determine since it shows no symptoms. Many people are actually suffering from this, but they are not aware because of the absence of symptoms. Given this, there is a higher chance of transmitting the virus. The best thing to do is to undergo regular check ups to make sure if you are free of the said virus.
Genital warts are usually transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected person. Scientific experts have earlier claimed that about 66 percent of people who have sexual intercourse with an infected partner can also get genital warts through anal, vaginal or oral sex.
Another possible venue is through childbirth. In case a baby passes through an already infected birth canal, there is a high chance of developing warts that could appear in the throat or mouth. This is called laryngeal papillomatosis.
In addition, genital warts can also be transferred through fomites, despite the absence of scientific evidence. Fomites refer to personal items and medical equipments. Thus, even without sexual intercourse, genital warts can still be transmitted from one person to another.
Meanwhile, complication of HPV can be further increased by a number of factors. One major factor is being sexually active at an early age. Also, having multiply sex partners could increase also the prevalence of complication. It is also important to know the sexual history of a person you are going to have sex with, as this could also pose threat on your part.
Oral contraceptives and birth control pills may also pose some threats as these are essentially unprotected sexual intercourse. Other factors include alcohol consumption, smoking and stress. A compromised kind of immune system can also increase the chances of acquiring genital warts.