How Genital Warts Are Diagnosed?

by W. Darren -

Posted on Monday 10th of November 2008

Genital warts are a form of sexually transmitted disease that is brought about by human papillomavirus (HPV). These genital warts appear as small bumps that are raised and shaped like cauliflowers. They are usually flesh-colored or grey. Genital warts usually manifest on the anal and genital areas. The symptoms of these warts may not show from a few weeks to even many months so it is very difficult to pinpoint whether or not you have HPV in your system. The best way of finding out is to visit your doctor so that he/she can conduct tests, make the right diagnosis, and suggest the best treatment option that is suitable for your case.

Before giving a diagnosis of genital warts, your doctor will usually have several questions for you about the symptoms that you currently have, your other medical problem, your sexual and medical history, and what specific kinds of medications that you are presently taking.

Your doctor will then conduct a physical test so that he/she can see the signs and symptoms of genital warts. The first test that is usually conducted is direct visual examination of the problem area. This examination involves a thorough and careful observation of your genital areas, thighs, and pelvic region. Moreover, your doctor will examine your throat and mouth areas for warts. What he/she is looking for are tiny flesh-colored spots on the skin that are raised. These genital warts vary in size and form in clumps.

However, it is a known fact that not all of your genital warts can be easily spotted. Hence, your doctor may use other examination methods to verify the presence of warts. Different solutions may be used. For instance, acetic acid (white vinegar) may be used. It is usually smeared on the labia, cervix, penis, and around the anus to verify the presence of tiny genital warts. Upon the application of this solution, genital warts turn white. However, the presence of tiny white spots does not necessarily mean that the patient indeed has genital warts. This is because the acetic acid test also yields positive results for other diseases such as yeast infections, psoriasis, and lichen planus.

Aside from direct visual examination and acetic acid test, your doctor may also perform a Pap smear, that is, if you're a woman. A Pap smear involves the scraping of cells from the cervix. The cells that have been gathered are then meticulously examined for abnormalities. If your doctor spots abnormalities, he/she will then suggest that you go for more tests in order to determine the exact cause of those abnormalities.

Your doctor may also suggest another examination called a colposcopy. A colposcopy involves the utilization of a magnifying device that is lighted so that the doctor will have a better view of your cervix, vagins, and vulva in order to check for symptoms and signs of genital warts. In addition, severe cases may call for a biopsy. This examination involves the removal of a small sample of tissue from your cervix and its subsequent observation under a microscope.

Before giving his/her final diagnosis, your doctor will also conduct other tests that serve to rule out infections that look similar to genital warts. Examples of these infections include skin tags, herpes, pearly penile papules, and seborrhetic keratoses, among others.

The important thing to know is to detect genital warts as early as possible so that you could immediately undergo treatment during its early stages. Like other health problems, the probability of successfully treating genital warts increases if it is dealt with earlier.

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