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.

Continue Learning about Genital Warts

When should I call my doctor if I have genital warts?
Genital warts are soft, flesh-colored or pinkish bumps on the genitals. They're caused by a virus, c...
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What are genital warts?
Genital warts are warts in the genital area caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is one o...
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Are genital warts serious?
Gary Goldenberg, MDGary Goldenberg, MD
Yes, genital warts are serious and need to be treated. High risk HPV types can cause cancer, such as...
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What should I know about caring for someone with genital warts?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Caring for someone with genital warts may just involve supporting them through their treatment. You ...
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