Genital warts are becoming increasingly common in the UK, with young people aged between 16 and 24 being most affected. Genital warts are caused by the HPV (the Human Papilloma Virus). Genital warts develop when the skin around the vagina, cervix or rectum becomes infected and can be found on the vulva, cervix and inner thighs on women and on the penis, scrotum and upper thighs on men. Genital warts can be passed on via contact with infected skin and are not only passed during penetrative sex.
What are the symptoms?
The most obvious symptom is the wart itself, which is usually clearly visible; the warts are usually small, raised lumps that are usually painless. Other symptoms may include bleeding from the urethra or anus, itching and swelling.
How are genital warts treated?
In some cases, the warts are left untreated as they usually heal quickly by themselves; however, some people may apply treatments such as creams and lotions and some people may have the warts removed by freezing or heating the warts or having them removed surgically.