Generally certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is what leads to external genital warts. Almost 75% of men and women who are sexually active are affected by HPV. Among the many strains of HPV, a few of them can result in the development of genital warts. Being very contagious, these warts can easily spread from one person to another via sexual activity. In this article, we will be discussing about the symptoms, risks and treatment methods of genital warts during pregnancy.
All You Need to Know About Genital Warts During Pregnancy
HPV and Genital Warts
These warts show up externally around the vagina, in the rectum, anus, or on the cervix. These are usually soft, skin coloured and vary in size and are painless. Most of the times those who contract HPV will be unaware of it as it does not show up any symptoms and usually gets resolved on it own. However, if the warts do not disappear on its own within a few months, treatment is needed to clear them up.
If the strain of HPV results in genital warts during pregnancy, it is unlikely to affect the health your baby. Due to hormonal changes, changes in the immune system and discharge, genital warts are shown to grow faster during pregnancy. But in any case, they do not pose a serious risk to you or your baby.
There have been a few cases where the mother has passed on the HPV to the baby. But with the help of medical intervention, the baby was able to overcome the symptoms.
What are the complications of genital warts during pregnancy?
Although genital warts won’t affect your pregnancy, but in some cases, certain complications could arise.
There are cases when the warts can grow larger in size than they normally do. This can make urinating painful for some women. In addition to this, it may also lead to bleeding during pregnancy. And sometimes, it can also make it a little difficult for the vagina to stretch enough during childbirth. A cesarean delivery may be recommended in such a case.
It is rare but the mother can also pass on the genital warts to the baby. in such a case, the baby will develop warts in their mouth or throat several times a week after birth.
As far as miscarriage or complications with delivery are considered, genital warts haven’t been shown to cause any problem with the same.
Is there any treatment for genital warts during pregnancy?
Well, the treatment of genital warts vary from case to case during pregnancy. Your doctor may even decide to not treat genital warts at all during pregnancy because in any case they do not lead to any complications. Although you may notice the increased growth but even then it is not a threat to your health during pregnancy.
Another case is when the doctor may decide to remove them all. Surgical, laser removal and freezing are some of the safest methods of genital warts during pregnancy.
There are medications that can help to make the warts less visible. However, only a few of these drugs have been cleared for usage during pregnancy. If you have been taking prescription drugs for your genital warts, it is important that you inform your doctor about the same. The doctor may recommend you to stop taking them at the time of pregnancy if he/she feels that they are unsafe for you.
Also, over the counter wart removers should not be used to treat genital warts. This may make the pain even worse and could also lead to irritation.
While we usually discuss about the safe methods to treat genital warts during pregnancy, it is important that we also discuss about certain things that shouldn’t be done under any circumstances:
- Do not use unauthorized drugs.
- Do not try to peel the skin off.
- Do not try to pop the warts
- Stop taking drugs that are not prescribed by your doctor after pregnancy.
- Do not use ice.
- Do not make use of steroid based topical creams.
- Do not try to cut off these warts.
- Do not adapt any treatment method that hasn’t been tested in the medical field.
For the majority of cases, genital warts won’t really lead to any complications during pregnancy. There are very low chances of the mother passing the warts onto their baby. however, it is recommended that if you notice the strains of HPV during or before pregnancy, you must consult your doctor regarding the same. Your doctor will inform you about any possible risks as well as the best treatment option for you.