How are genital warts (human papillomavirus) diagnosed?

If the warts are visible, doctors may be able to diagnose genital warts by just looking at the symptoms. In some cases, though, diagnosing genital warts may be more difficult than it seems. This is because the warts aren't always visible, especially if they form inside on the cervix or inside the anus. In those cases, doctors may use colposcopy to diagnose genital warts. This involves putting a chemical stain in the area to make warts more visible, and then using a tiny magnifying tool to inspect the area for growths. Because women may have genital warts on their cervix without realizing it, it's important for women to get regular Pap tests to look for abnormalities that may be caused by genital warts.

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Genital Warts

Genital Warts

Genital warts are contagious warts around the genitals caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV. It is one of the most common STDs, affecting more women than men. Doctors can perform a gynecological exam to ...

determine whether or not you have genital warts. They are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. To prevent contraction, it’s important to practice safe, protected sex with limited partners. A vaccine is also available to help prevent HPV.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.