Welcome to the Patient Education Library of Texas Medical Institute
Warts are small growths that appear on the skin. They vary in type, size, appearance, and location. Warts usually are not painful.
A virus causes warts. Warts are very contagious and can be spread from person to person. Some warts respond to over-the-counter treatments. In some cases, warts need to be removed by a doctor.
Warts are highly contagious. The viruses that cause warts spread by direct contact with a wart and by contact with surfaces that have the viruses on it, such as locker room floors. Warts can take from one to eight months to appear after the virus is contracted.
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease. Genital warts appear in the pubic area, on the genitals, in the vaginal canal, or in the anus. In rare cases, they may develop in the mouth as a result of oral sex. Some people may not realize that they have genital warts because they may not have obvious symptoms. Some of the viruses that cause genital warts are associated with an increased risk of cancer, particularly cervical cancer in women.
People with suspected genital warts need evaluation and treatment by a doctor. Your doctor can diagnose genital warts by examining your pubic area, genitals, and anus. For females, a vaginal exam is necessary to detect genital warts on the cervix or vaginal canal. Your doctor may apply a vinegar solution to suspected tissues. The liquid causes infected areas to whiten. Your doctor may also perform a blood test or take a biopsy or tissue sample to confirm a diagnosis. Females should receive regular Pap Smear Tests to check for cell changes or cervical cancer.
You can prevent genital warts by not having sexual contact with a person that has genital warts. A person with genital warts should avoid sexual contact until after the warts are treated. Doctors are not sure if male latex condoms prevent the spread of HPV. Females should have regular Pap Smear Tests to detect cell abnormalities or cancer associated with HPV that causes genital warts.
Am I at RiskWarts are highly contagious. You should avoid touching warts that are on other people or yourself. The viruses that cause warts thrive in warm moist areas. You are at risk for plantar warts if you walk barefoot in locker rooms and public showers. You are at risk for contracting genital warts if you have oral, vaginal, or anal sex with a person that has genital warts.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.