Anogenital Warts in Women

Anogenital warts are more common amongst women than men and a number of women are affected all over the world. The age group that has the most number of cases is the 16-19 age group and the majority of women become infected by the virus at this point in their lives, usually when they have become sexually active and are experiencing a number of different partners.

The warts can appear in a number of places in the genital area in a female. They can be in or around the vagina so you may experience bleeding during sexual intercourse due to friction against the warts. They can also appear on the vulva, the cervix and in and around the anus. They may also spread to the upper thighs and can be found in the urethra. Depending on where the warts appear, you may experience a level of discomfort or bleeding if they become irritated and inflamed.

Women who do not realise that they have anogenital warts may find out during a pap smear because abnormal cells from the cervix can indicate infection of HPV. There are risks associated with HPV because depending on which strain you contract, there is an increased risk of cervical cancer. Therefore, if the abnormal cells are found, tests will be done to determine the strain of HPV you may have.

The treatment for women is the same as men and involves either topical treatment, where creams are applied directly to the warts or surgery to remove the wart. There is no cure for the anogenital warts, the treatment will get rid of the warts but not the virus. Overtime, your body will clear the virus from your system but you might experience a number of outbreaks before this happens. There has been a vaccine produced that will protect you against four strains of HPV, two of which cause anogenital warts. It is called Gardasil and is been given to teenage girls from the age of 12 upwards in the attempt to protect them from the risk of cervical cancer and anogenital warts. It is possible to get this vaccine if you do not fall into the age category but you will have to pay privately for the vaccination.

To prevent anogenital warts do not have unprotected sex with anyone and wear a dam during oral sex. You should also find out the sexual history of your partner so you can be sure that you won’t become infected because condoms are not 100% protective against anogenital warts. If you have the infection, refrain from having sexual contact whilst you have an outbreak and always use a condom.

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