What Your Mom Never Told You About Warts
There is a lot of misinformation out there today about vaginal warts. It is certainly important to understand the facts, to know what to look for, and to know how to get treatment should you find that you have vaginal warts. Similarly, if you are a man who is sexually active, you'll want to know what to look for, and what can transfer from one partner to another.
Partners Might Have Warts
Question 1: I think that my girlfriend has vaginal warts, but she doesn't think they are. She doesn't want to be tested for them. What should I do?
Answer: Vaginal warts are definitely contagious and it is important to get to a doctor. There are many different treatment options available, and the doctor can explain these to your partner. If, when seeing the doctor, you find they are vaginal warts and that they were sexually transmitted, then you'll want to get yourself tested for STDs as well.
Seeing The Doctor
Question 2: What happens when I go to a doctor to see if I have vaginal warts?
Answer: Your doctor will do a visual exam first to look at the area in question. He may do a biopsy to see for sure whether the lesion is a genital wart. You may also need to have an exam done with a colposcope, which is a device that works microscopically to look at the vaginal walls and cervix for abnormal cells. Your doctor will recommend treatment options and explain everything to you. You should also be tested for cervical irregularities each time that you have a gynecological exam and you should certainly have an annual Pap test.
Question 3: I have vaginal warts but the doctor told me that he isn't going to treat them. I'm completely confused. Why is he doing this?
Answer: There isn't a cure for genital warts. The treatment options that are available all focus on removing the actual warts. Even if these warts are removed, you still have the virus in your body and you can still have future outbreaks. Treatment may not keep you from passing warts on to others either. Given these facts, many doctors will decide not to treat warts. Treatment may help to decrease embarrassment and discomfort, but it's not a solution for the problem of warts. It is also difficult to fully destroy large areas of warts and often times the warts will disappear on their own. Speak with your doctor again, however, if you really want some type of treatment done.
How To Be Safe?
Question 4: I have genital warts and I understand that my treatment doesn't eradicate the virus. How do I keep my partner safe?
Answer: You are correct that treatment for warts does not get rid of the HPV infection. For this reason, the best course of action is to use condoms when engaging in sexual activity. Studies have not shown conclusively that condoms will prevent transmission, but their use is certainly more helpful than not using condoms. In addition, they will help to prevent other STDs at the same time that they help with the transmission of genital warts.