If you contract the human papillomavirus (HPV), you are likely to start showing the signs of genital warts around two to three months later, although it can take as long as year for the symptoms to arise. Therefore, it is important to know if you are getting them in order to get treated as soon as possible.
You may just get a solitary wart or a collection that all grow together to give an appearance that is similar to a cauliflower. They do not usually cause pain, although some people with them complain of itchiness or irritation, particularly if they are around the anus.
Genital warts can bleed during sex too, so it is recommended to avoid intercourse until they have properly healed. Meanwhile, they can cause difficulty urinating if they appear in the urethra itself.
Warts in women
For women, they typically start off as small, gritty lumps that gradually increase in size. The most common place for them to appear is around the vulva, which is the opening of the vagina, around a third of all cases show symptoms here.
Approximately one in three women suffering from genital warts will get them inside the vagina and a similar figure will have them develop in the area between vagina and anus. A quarter of sufferers will get them around the anus itself.
In the rarer cases, women may get them on their cervix, which is the neck of the womb, and this happens in a tenth of cases, while genital warts in the opening of the urethra happen once in every 25 instances.
Warts in men
Genital warts in men are akin to those they get on their hands, having a raised appearance and being firm and rough to tough.
They most commonly appear on the shaft of the penis, typically just below the foreskin, which happens in half of all cases. However, in a third of all men that develop them they will arise around the anus.
The warts can appear in a number of other places, but it is less likely. For example, in a tenth of instances men will develop them on the glans, which is the head of the penis, and a similar figure will see them appear inside the urethra. Around one in 12 well get them underneath their foreskin and one in 30 cases see them in the gap between the anus and the scrotum.
An unlucky one per cent of men will develop genital warts on the scrotum itself.
Seeking medical attention
If you think you have genital warts, it is advisable to seek medical advice immediately. This is primarily because someone who does not know what they are looking for may think they have a wart, but it could turn out to be a growth, which can be much more serious.
The genital wart treatment is relatively straightforward, but it must be gained through a subscription, which requires you to visit a GP. Furthermore, in some instances the treatment can only be administered by a doctor.