What are the signs and symptoms of genital warts?
Genital warts are small, rough lumps that appear around the penis, vagina, or anus. They are sometimes described as being cauliflower-like in appearance and can appear flesh-coloured, red, or brown. They can appear on their own or in clusters. Although genital warts aren’t usually associated with other symptoms, they can be itchy, uncomfortable, and may sometimes bleed.
Symptoms in men
In men, genital warts may appear in the following areas:
If warts develop near or inside your urethra, the tube where pee leaves your body, it can make peeing painful and may disrupt the flow. However, this can happen in both men and women.
Symptoms in women
The signs of genital warts in women are small, lumps that appear in or around the:
Women may also experience discomfort peeing or notice a change in flow if warts appear in or around the urethra. Genital warts can also change the appearance of vaginal discharge or cause bleeding.
Genital warts and pregnancy
Usually, genital warts will not harm your pregnancy, but you may notice that they:
- increase in size and numbers
- become easily irritated
Although rare, there is a possibility that genital warts can be passed on to your baby during birth. The infection responsible for genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), can cause an infection in the baby’s throat or genitals.
If you are pregnant and have genital warts, you’ll often be referred to a sexual health specialist.
Can you have genital warts without any symptoms?
Yes, most people who are infected with HPV do not know they have the infection because they do not develop any signs or symptoms. Some people only find out they are infected when they develop genital warts, while others spread the infection even though they have no visible symptoms.