Condyloma is an infectious disease, usually transmitted by direct sexual contact, that is characterized by the presence of warts caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). These warts may be found on the genitals, mucous membranes of the mouth, near the anus, or in the rectum.
The warts associated with condyloma appear as small, soft, moist, pink or red elevations on the skin or mucous membranes. They are caused by direct contact with one of the following types of the human papilloma virus (HPV): types 1, 2, 6, 11, 16, or 18. There is an incubation period of 1 to 6 months. The warts are not painful but they can spread rapidly on the genitals, mucous membranes, around the anus, and in the rectum. Occasionally, there may be a single wart, but most often they cluster together, taking on a cauliflower-like appearance.
In females, condyloma can be found on the walls of the vagina or cervix, on the area between the vulva and anus (perineum), or in the rectum. Pregnancy or a chronic vaginal discharge appear to cause these warts to grow and spread more rapidly. Regular examinations, including pap smears, are important for women who have had venereal warts. The increased number of cases of cervical cancer in women with condyloma is evidence of a connection between cancer and the HPV virus.
Men who have been infected with the human papilloma virus may have condyloma warts around the foreskin and/or shaft of the penis, around the anus or in the rectum. Occasionally, they may involve the urethra, the tube that extends through the penis into the bladder allowing urination.
Condyloma is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the USA today. Its incidence is on the rise, and it affects both men and women. It is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and is transmitted by direct sexual contact.
Condyloma is an infectious disease that affects males and females equally. Sexual practices that are considered high risk, multiple sexual partners, poor personal hygiene, and engaging in sexual activity at an early age have all been implicated in the increase in incidence of this viral disease. Pregnant women are more prone to this disease, and if not adequately treated, can transmit the virus to the baby at the time of delivery (laryngeal papillomas). Rectal and anal warts are more commonly found among homosexual males.
In the USA, the incidence of condyloma acuminatum has been estimated at 1% of the population. Highest prevalence and risk is among young adults (20-35) and older teenagers (16-19). In the past twenty years, the number of cases of genital warts reported has increased by more than 400 percent.
The diagnosis is made by inspection of the affected area. The presence of small pink or red bumps is usually obvious.
Since condyloma is a sexually transmitted disease, both partners should be examined and treated. Treatment of condyloma consists of topical medications such as podophyllin or trichloroacetic acids. This treatment may need to be repeated to assure complete removal of the warts. Genital warts may also be treated under local or general anesthesia by an exposure to extreme cold (cryosurgery), or by cauterizing the wart with heat from an electric current (electrocauterization) or laser therapy. Surgical removal may be necessary for the more extensive cases of this disease. Condylomas may be difficult to treat, and relapses may occur. Several treatments may be necessary. However, early detection and treatment are important. Notification of sexual partners is also important. Circumcision may help to prevent a recurrence of this disease in men. Condoms, used correctly, can give some protection and help to avoid re-infection from this and other sexually-transmitted diseases.
Those people who have been diagnosed with the papilloma virus (types 6, 11, 16, and 18), and their sexual partners, should be followed closely by their physicians. This is due to the fact that certain forms of cancer have occurred after a history of genital warts.
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