Advertisement

How are genital warts (human papillomavirus) diagnosed?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

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.

Continue Learning about Genital Warts

Are genital warts serious?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Genital warts are usually pretty treatable and don't cause major symptoms, but they may become a ser...
More Answers
What should I know about caring for someone with genital warts?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Caring for someone with genital warts may just involve supporting them through their treatment. You ...
More Answers
What are genital warts?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Genital warts are irregularly shaped bumpy growths spread through sexual contact. Genital warts are ...
More Answers
When should I call my doctor if I have genital warts?
RealAgeRealAge
Genital warts are soft, flesh-colored or pinkish bumps on the genitals. They're caused by a virus, c...
More Answers

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.