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Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus) - Symptoms

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

Infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) usually does not cause any symptoms and does not always produce visible genital warts. Some types of HPV cause cell changes to the cervix that can cause an abnormal Pap test.

When symptoms do develop, they usually occur 2 to 3 months after infection. But symptoms have been known to occur from 3 weeks to many years after infection.

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Symptoms that may occur with genital warts include:

Genital warts

Genital warts can be different sizes and shapes.

  • They may be large, or they may be too small to be seen with the naked eye. They may appear individually or in groups.
  • Warts may look like tiny bunches of cauliflower or like flat, white areas that are very difficult to see.
  • In women and men, warts may appear in the groin, on and around the genitals, in the urethra, or in the rectum or anus.
  • In women:
    • Genital warts may appear around the anus or on the vulva, vagina, or cervix.
    • Women are often unaware of warts inside the vagina or on the cervix until a doctor finds them.
  • In men:
    • Genital warts may occur on the outside of the penis, on the scrotum, or around the anus.
    • Men are often unaware they have genital warts, even when they can be seen, until the warts are identified by a doctor.

Symptoms of genital warts may be similar to those of other conditions.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 05, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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