Genital Warts In Women (cont.)

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What are the symptoms of genital warts?

In many cases genital warts do not cause any symptoms, but they are sometimes associated with itching, burning, or tenderness. They may result in localized irritation, depending upon their anatomic location. Women who have genital warts inside the vagina may experience bleeding following sexual intercourse or an abnormal vaginal discharge. Rarely, bleeding or urinary obstruction may occur if the wart involves the urethral opening.

How is HPV infection diagnosed?

HPV sometimes can be suspected by changes that appear on a Pap smear, since pap smears identify infected abnormal cells that may be precursors to cancer. While HPV infection can lead to precancerous changes in the cervix that are recognized on the Pap smear, the Pap smear itself cannot definitely establish the diagnosis of HPV infection, unless special testing is carried out on the material obtained from the Pap smear. When there is an abnormal Pap smear, the doctor often will do advanced testing on the material to determine if, and which kind, of HPV may be present. HPV also can be detected if a biopsy (for example, from a genital wart or from the uterine cervix) is sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Is there a DNA test for types of HPV infection?

In 2009, the U.S. FDA approved the first DNA tests for diagnosis of the common cancer-causing HPV types in cervical samples. Two tests known as Cervista HPV 16/18 and Cervista HPV HR, are used to diagnose the presence of DNA from the two most common HPV types associated with cancer, HPV 16 and 18, and all "high risk" or cancer-associated HPV types, respectively. These tests do not replace standard Pap testing or clinical examination and are used in combination with traditional screening methods to help estimate a woman's risk and aid in management decisions.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2014

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Genital Warts (HPV) - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatment, including laser surgery or prescription ointments, have you used for genital warts?
Genital Warts - Symptoms Question: Some people have itching or burning. Please describe the symptoms associated with your genital warts.