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Genital Warts (cont.)

Genital Warts Symptoms (HPV)

Although genital warts are painless, they may be bothersome because of their location, size, or due to itching.

  • The size may range from less than one millimeter (1 mm = 0.039 inches) across to several square centimeters (1 cm = 0.39 inches) when many warts join together.
  • Men and women with genital warts will often complain of painless bumps, itching, and discharge.
  • Rarely, bleeding or urinary obstruction may be the initial problem when the wart involves the urethral opening (the opening where urine exits the body.)
  • Warts in more than one area are common.
  • There may be a history of previous or concurrent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Specific descriptions

  • In men, genital warts can infect the urethra, penis, scrotum, and rectal area. The warts can appear as soft, raised masses with a surface that can be smooth (on the penile shaft) or rough with many fingerlike projections (anal warts). Others may appear pearly, cauliflower-like, or rough with a slightly dark surface. Most lesions are raised, but some may be flat with only slight elevation above the skin surface. Sometimes lesions may be hidden by hair or in the inner aspect of the uncircumcised foreskin in males.
  • In women, genital warts have a similar appearance and usually occur in the moist areas of the labia minora and vaginal opening. Lesions visible on the outer genitals warrant a thorough examination of the vaginal canal, cervix, and anorectal area. Most vaginal warts occur without symptoms. Rarely, women may experience bleeding after sexual intercourse, itching, or vaginal discharge.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/1/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Warts, Genital »

Until the 19th century, genital warts (GWs) were believed to be a form of syphilis or gonorrhea.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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