Genital warts tend to cause more complications in women than men.
- Get tested as soon as you see any warts or if you change partner (even if you don’t have symptoms). Remember, it can take weeks or longer for warts to appear following infection
- Get tested if you are a woman planning to get pregnant or you are pregnant, as genital warts can be passed on to the baby
- Avoid sexual activity until you have completed treatment and been given the all clear
Whereas most of us carry HPV (the virus that leads to genital warts) and it causes no harm, some strains can raise the risk of cervical cancer. This is why it is advised that all women are tested regularly for HPV. In England, all girls aged 12 to 13 are offered an HPV vaccine to lessen their chances of developing cervical cancer.
Pregnant women with untreated genital warts risk having the warts grow and multiply during the gestation period. Not all treatments are safe for pregnant women so in some cases, the warts can’t be tackled until after birth. Very rarely, warts inside the vagina mean a mother-to-be must have a Caesarian section. In rare cases, warts can be passed on to the baby who may then develop warts in their throat or mouth.
Complications may be avoided if you get tested for genital warts every time you have a new partner and if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. To test yourself discreetly, order an easy-to-use self-collection test kit online. Your results will be available 1-3 days after it reaches the laboratory.
Young adults between the ages of 20 and 24 accounted for more than a third of cases of genital warts in 2015.