Information about STI related vaginal sores
Note: This information is a continuation of a previous blog about STI-related vaginal bumps, lumps, and warts and should not replace being examined by a physician/provider. Please see a health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about symptoms you are having.
Review of Part 1:
- The importance of knowing the cause behind any genital bumps, lumps, or warts you may have noticed on your body
- The importance of seeing a provider to determine the cause
- Herpes Simplex Virus: 1 of 3 STI/STD’s that can cause lumps and bumps in genital areas
Herpes is not the only Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD/STI) that can cause you to have a growth on the genitals. HPV and Syphilis are 2 other STI’s that can cause growths in the form of lumps, bumps, or warts.
HPV is listed as the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection among teens and young adults in recent statistics presented by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
It is transmitted by intimate exposure to a partner with the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are many different types of HPV viruses. Some of these can cause health concerns like genital warts or increased risk for certain cancers.
According to the CDC, an estimated 13 million Americans are newly infected each year and over 42 million are currently infected with a type of HPV that causes disease.
Transmission: HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone positive for the HPV virus, even if that person has no symptoms.
Symptoms: The presence of genital warts is the main and sometimes only symptom for most people who contract HPV. Warts may not present themselves for several months after exposure, making it hard to determine when you may have contracted the virus. You may notice one single wart or a cluster (multiple warts together). They are typically flesh colored but can be flat or have a bumpy cauliflower-like appearance. Some warts are so small you may not be able to see them. Warts can grow on any of the genital areas, including inside the vaginal canal, on the cervix, and around the rectum.
Diagnosis: If genital warts are present, a physician may make a diagnosis just by looking at them. For more conclusive testing, or if warts are not visible to the eye, the provider may decide to perform additional testing such as: a vinegar (acetic acid) solutions test, a Pap Smear, or a DNA test.
Routine Pap Smears are recommended for sexually active women to screen for HPV and cervical cancer. Speak with your doctor about your risk and screening options.
Treatment: There is no cure for HPV, and in some cases (especially children and teens) the warts may resolve on their own. In other cases, they may grow in size and number. Treatment will not cure the HPV virus that causes the warts. However, if they are not resolving or are growing in number, a provider may recommend a medication or localized procedure to treat the warts. It is currently unknown exactly how long you are contagious after warts appear.
Vaccines are also an option to prevent certain types of HPV that may cause genital warts and cervical cancer. Speak with your provider if you have any questions about the vaccine.
Recurrence: In most healthy individuals the HPV virus may either go away altogether or remain dormant (inactive) in your system for many years. Recurrence is rare and usually found in individuals with poor immune systems.
Pregnancy Risk: According to Web MD, research has not proven a link between HPV and increased risks for miscarriage, premature delivery, or any other pregnancy related complications. The risk for transmission during delivery is also low, even if you have an outbreak with genital warts at the time. You should always let your OB know if you are pregnant and have a history of HPV so they can closely monitor you for any risks to your baby or cervical changes.
Next time – information about syphilis.