There are times when you may have to deal with some kind of skin issues. Whether it’s acne, skin cancer, or simply dry skin, chances are that you’ll be experiencing at least one in your lifetime. Among these irritations that can arise is the sexually transmitted infection of genital warts. These terrible growths can be a problem in and of themselves, but especially when they’re located in a more sensitive location such as the urethra. There can be pain, irritation, and interference with the function of the urethra when warts are involved, and the issue shouldn’t be ignored.
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When Genital Warts Appear in the Urethra
The urethra is part of the urinary tract. It is the single tube that connects the bladder to the outside of your body, allowing urine to escape. Because it is right in the middle of the genital area, genital warts can easily spread to it. The exact locations that the growths appear can range from surrounding the urethra, to actually being inside of it.
When this happens, complications can arise, including:
- Difficulty urinating, sometimes even causing a full urethral blockage.
- Pain and discomfort.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Sexual dysfunction, particularly in men.
The question of whether genital warts lead to cancer or not may be worrisome to you. There are certain strains of the virus causing these warts that have been found to increase your chance for cancer. Genital warts lead to a higher rate of cancer of the cervix, vulva, and anus.
To learn whether or not genital warts may increase your chance of cancer, look here.
What Causes Them?
Genital warts are caused by the sexually transmitted infection (STI) HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus. There are many different strains of HPV, and only a couple of them have been shown to cause warts. They are easily transmitted through sexual contact, including oral sex.
Genital warts are not caused by the same strain of virus that give you warts on your hand or feet. They can spread all over the genital region, including the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, scrotum, and groin. Genital warts can also be located on the buttocks, look here.
HPV is what causes urethral warts — the same virus, just spread into the urethra. Warts usually don’t show up immediately after transmission, most often appearing weeks to months later.
There is no cure for HPV. This means that, although the infection can be treated, the actual virus itself will always remain in your body. This will lead to periodic outbreaks of genital warts during your lifetime. Fortunately, there are ways to treat outbreaks when they happen, and lengthen the time between them. Remember to always discuss your HPV infection with a sexual partner.
If you think you may be experiencing urethral warts, see your physician right away. The most common types of physicians to see for an outbreak of HPV are general practitioners, gynecologists, and urologists. There are also state-wide health clinics that offer free or low-cost screenings of sexually transmitted infections. Remember, although one healthcare professional may diagnose your genital warts, not all of them are qualified to perform the required treatment.
When you see your healthcare professional, you will experience several things during your visit:
- History: The doctor that you see will need to know a comprehensive health history, including a description of your sexual activity and partners.
- Physical Exam: You will most likely receive a physical exam of the genitalia. An acidic solution may be used to help the warts be seen more easily. Your doctor can then accurately see if the growths are inside the urethra, and to what extent they are causing problems.
- Lab Tests: A swab is usually taken of the affected area. This will be sent off to a lab to confirm the presence of HPV. You may feel a mild discomfort while being swabbed, depending on the severity of your growths.
- Treatment Plan: Depending on what your doctor finds during your visit, a treatment plan will be discussed with you. This may range from simply waiting for the growths to disappear on their own, to an actual medical procedure.
The Top Treatments for Urethral Warts
Genital warts often go away on their own over time. Although there is no cure for Human Papilloma Virus, you can choose the option of effectively managing and treating them. Of course, the best way to avoid dealing with genital warts is prevention through the use of condoms and open discussions about STIs with a sexual partner, but if you find yourself plagued with an HPV outbreak, there are several options available for treatment. Specifically when dealing with urethral warts, the treatment may be more invasive, as it can be more difficult to reach the warts inside.
- Gardasil: This vaccine is available to both girls and boys. Although it can be given from age 9-26, it’s recommended to be administered in the pre-teen years. Gardasil prevents the types of HPV that are known to cause genital warts and that increase the chances of cancer.
- Thiotepa: This drug, sometimes used in the treatment of cancer, is injected into the urethra through the aid of a scope. It helps to stop the cell growth of the warts and destroy the warts already present. This drug should not be used while pregnant.
Flourouracil: This medication is also typically used in the treatment of cancer and is injected directly into the warts themselves. It prevents the urethral warts from becoming larger and leads to cell death, effectively killing the growths. Although this drug will not prevent a future outbreak of genital warts, it will help to kill the ones that do come up. This should not be used during pregnancy.Warning
Never attempt to get rid of urethral warts yourself. Because of the hard to reach location and delicate tissue inside of the urethra, you can do much more harm than good if you try and treat the warts on your own. Do not use topical creams or gels meant for external genital warts, as these may damage the interior of the urethra. Always inform your physician if you are pregnant before treating genital warts of any kind.
- Surgery: Sometimes, especially if the urethral warts are causing a partial or complete blockage, your doctor may suggest surgery for the treatment. This will be done under general anesthesia since the area is so delicate. For excision – or cutting – surgery, your physician will use a blade tool to cut the warts out of the urethra.
For more information on how to get rid of genital warts, find it here.
In the past, urethral have been known to be a horrible plague. Although they are bothersome and can carry more severe complications, these warts do not have to rule your life. Through diagnosis, treatment, and effective management, you can be happy knowing that you are in control, not HPV.