These are one of the most frequently occurring infections in sexually active women and are caused when an individual gets infected with human papilloma virus or HPV. Approximately 500,000 cases of genital warts are detected in the US every year.
There are various ways using which physicians can detect and diagnosis the presence of genital warts. The most primary is the physical examination of the patient. Genital warts present on the outer surface have a typical appearance. They occur as single small, fleshy raised bumps. Sometimes, these warts multiply extensively and have a cauliflower-like appearance. Less commonly, lesion can appear as reddish or brown smooth, raised papules or as dome-shaped lesions on keratinized skin.
When the lesions appear inside the vagina, cervix or uterus, they are difficult to observe or diagnose. In case of genital warts appearing on the vaginal walls, a pelvic examination of the patient is conducted. Colonoscopy is an endoscopic procedure used to locate and observe genital warts that appear inside and are difficult to locate with the naked eye. Patients with internal warts may have discomfort, pain, bleeding or difficulty with intercourse. Urethral lesion may impair the passage of body fluids.
In women, another important method of diagnosing and detecting genital warts is through a Pap smear. A pap smear is a simple, quick and relatively painless procedure where a sample of tissue or cells is scraped from a woman’s cervix and is observed under the microscope. Biopsy of genital warts is recommended only when the diagnosis becomes uncertain or when the lesions are pigmented, indurated and ulcerated. Biopsy is also done in patients having abnormal pap smears or those who are at a higher risk of developing any HPV-related malignancy.
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