Genital Warts

– A sexually transmitted disease of the genitalia andperianal regions characterized by multiple fleshy, painless growths.

Causes and Incidence

Genital warts are caused by various strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are transmitted by sexual contact. Worldwide the incidence has been increasing rapidly over the past decade.

Disease Process

The virus invades superficial layers of the epidermis, infects cells in the stratum spinosum, and stimulates cell division, causing excessive cell proliferation and formation of the wartlike projections on the penis, vagina, cervix, vulva, perineum, rectum, and anus and in the perianal regions; they may also be seen on oral mucosa. Laryngeal warts have been seen in vaginally delivered infants born to infected mothers.


Soft, moist, fleshy pink to brown projections that appear in clusters on genital, perianal, or oral mucosa.

Potential Complications

Secondary infections, giant condylomata that destroy large segments of penile tissue, and malignant transformation are all possible complications.

Diagnostic Tests

The diagnosis is made by clinical examination and confirmed by biopsy. Biopsy is also performed to rule out carcinoma and the condylomata seen in late-stage syphilis.


Removal by curette, cryotherapy, or electrosurgery.

Topical application of trichloroacetic acid/ podophyllin/5-FU cream to warts.

Refraining from sexual activity until clear of disease; examination and treatment of all potentially exposed sex partners; instruction about sexually transmitted diseases, the importance of completing treatment regimens, and the importance of regular examinations for genital and cervical carcinoma.