If you doubt that you are having signs and symptoms of genital warts or your partner has developed genital warts after sexual contact, seek the doctor’s advice immediately. If you are a woman having genital warts, the first step you should follow is scheduling an appointment with a gynecologist. Following are a few guidelines that will help you prepare for your first appointment.
Make a list
Before visiting your doctor, make a list of:
- Your signs and symptoms: This includes every abnormal thing that you are experiencing such as problem urinating, itching and inflammation on the genital areas. While doctor himself will perform your physical examination, a list of your problems will help him understand your condition further and provide the treatment accordingly. Specifying if your partner has faced similar problem of warts previously can also help in making a quick diagnosis.
- Personal information: Your doctor would like to get some personal information that could help him diagnose the problem such as the recent lifestyle changes and sexual history. Research on the internet and understand the possible causes of the problem so that you can convey the key information to your doctor clearly.
- Medications you take: If you are taking medications or home remedies for any other disease or to ease your discomfort related to warts, inform your doctor. Vitamins and other health supplements can also interfere with your treatment. Therefore, inform your doctor about them too to avoid any complications.
- Ask questions: No question is stupid when it comes to your health. So do not hesitate to ask several questions from the doctor to clear your doubts. For example, you can ask about preventive measures needed to follow or ways by which you can prevent HPV infection in the future. Some other questions that can be asked at the appointment are:
- What is mainly causing my symptoms?
- What are the other possible factors triggering this condition?
- What other complications may arise as a result of it?
- What tests do I need to diagnose the condition and related complications?
- Can you refer any website, brochure or other printed materials to learn about it further?
- Does my partner need to undergo a test?
- Can the warts reoccur?
- Are genital warts contagious?
What to expect at the appointment
Your doctor may ask you several questions before performing a physical examination or endoscopy. Some of the questions that he may ask you are as below:
- What are your symptoms?
- When did your symptoms begin?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Where have you found warts?
- Are the lesions itchy or painful?
- Do you bleed from genital areas during sexual intercourse?
- What appears to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Are you having single or multiple sexual partners?
- If you are having a single relationship, does your partner have warts?
- Have you recently had sex with a new partner?
- Do you practice safe sex?
- Has your partner being tested for STD?
- Have you had the HPV vaccination?
- Do you feel pain when you pass urine?
- Are you pregnant? If not, are you planning to become pregnant?
After the doctor has asked you these questions, he may perform a physical test, Pap Smears test or HPV test to confirm the condition.
What can pregnant women with genital warts expect from gynecologists?
Women who have experienced genital warts previously or are facing the condition in current situation need to get regular Pap and pelvic exams. These tests help greatly as women having genital warts might indicate a problem of cervical cancer in early stages which the gynecologist can detect.
Also, if you are pregnant and have genital warts, there are possibilities of multiple and larger wart growth. This causes pain and discomfort for pregnant women. Hence informing the gynecologist about the warts in the first meeting can help the specialist to keep a check on the wart growth. If the warts increase or might affect the delivery, the doctor might remove it using a surgical procedure.
Types of treatment methods which might be explained by the doctor
Some genital warts which are not too bumpy and small in size heal by themselves. But itchiness or a burning sensation might be felt always by the patient. Therefore, asking your doctor about the kind of treatments available becomes important.
Your doctor might apply a chemical which dissolves the warts and make them fall eventually. You might be given a stimulant cream to activate your immune cells which will fight against your warts. If warts are more in number or cannot be eliminated with a cream, doctors might perform a small surgery to freeze, cut or kill the growth using electric current. Even laser might be used in certain cases. In extreme cases, an antiviral medication might be injected into the warts to stop its growth and help in the treatment.
Some warts can be removed just with a single sitting, while some others may need 3 to 6 sittings depending on the type of treatment chosen. The treatment may also be painful and a local anesthesia may have to be injected in the area. Therefore, do not feel shy to understand all the procedures in detail. Also, as genital warts are very sensitive, treating them at home is not a good idea.
Suggestions your doctor might provide you
The doctor will initially confirm your genital warts using tests and will check the severity of the symptoms, the risks which can arise if the warts are left untreated, the advantage of waiting so that the wart heals on its own and other medical conditions you are facing which might interfere with the spreading of warts.
As an expert in healthcare, the doctor might give you a few suggestions like:
- Avoiding sexual contact until your genital warts are healed completely.
- Instructions of self-care and keeping the genitals clean.
So always be an active participant and answer the questions asked by the doctor completely and correctly. This can help in timely treatment.