Fast Five Quiz: Genital Warts

William James, MD


April 19, 2023

Painless bumps and pruritus are the chief symptoms encountered with genital warts. Generally, two thirds of individuals who have sexual contact with a partner who has genital warts develop lesions within 3 months. A history involving multiple lesions, rather than a single isolated wart, is more common. Involvement of more than one area is more common.

History and physical examination may indicate previous or other current sexually transmitted diseases. A workup including HIV and hepatitis testing, and other investigations dictated by the history and physical examination, are indicated. Oral, laryngeal, or tracheal mucosal lesions (uncommon) transfer through oral-genital contact or self-inoculation. History of anal intercourse warrants a thorough search for perianal lesions.

Urethral bleeding or urinary obstruction (uncommon) may be the presenting symptom when the wart involves the meatus. Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy may be due to condyloma eruptions. Coital bleeding also may occur. Latent infection may become active, particularly with pregnancy and immunosuppression. Lesions may progress in size and number. In the general population, infection with HPV appears to last 1-2 years, with self-resolution without sequalae.

Learn more about the presentation of genital warts.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.