Genital warts, also known as genital HPV infection or condyloma acuminata, is a sexually transmitted infection. Consequently, pregnant women can still be at risk of contracting genital warts, which can affect the health of both the mother and the baby. So, can genital warts in pregnant women be treated?
Why do pregnant women get genital warts?
Genital warts, or condyloma acuminata, are primarily transmitted through unsafe sexual practices, caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11. In cases where pregnant women have genital warts, the infection can be transmitted through various forms of unprotected sexual activity, such as vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse.
How to identify genital warts during pregnancy?
Genital warts typically appear as clusters of small, flat, or cauliflower-like growths on the skin. Initially, these signs might be difficult to detect due to their small size and being flush with the skin’s surface. As they progress, the warts become larger, appearing as individual growths or clusters, increasing in number, and developing colors similar to or darker than the surrounding skin tone.
Pregnant women with genital warts often experience lesions in areas such as the vagina, anus, cervix, etc. Additionally, this condition can lead to abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding, itching, a burning sensation, and more.
The hormonal changes during pregnancy can accelerate the growth of genital warts and increase vaginal secretions, creating a moist and warm environment that facilitates their development.
Are genital warts in pregnant women dangerous?
So, are genital warts during pregnancy dangerous? While there’s no conclusive evidence linking genital warts during pregnancy to issues such as miscarriage, preterm birth, or other complications in pregnancy, this condition can still have certain effects on both the pregnant woman and the fetus, including:
For the pregnant woman
Usually, the condition doesn’t affect the pregnancy. However, in some cases, complications may arise. Genital warts in pregnant women tend to grow faster due to increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, leading to larger and more widespread warts.
If there’s a genital tract infection, genital warts may grow rapidly, causing pain and discomfort during urination for the pregnant woman. The size of the warts can be significant and may bleed during childbirth.
Warts on the vagina or cervix can make the process of vaginal and cervical dilation during labor difficult. In these cases, surgery might be required. Pregnant women may have an increased risk of cervical cancer and potential fertility issues in the future.
For the fetus
Transmission of genital warts to the fetus is extremely rare. However, in cases of vaginal birth, the fetus can be at risk of HPV infection through direct exposure to vaginal secretions or warts on the vagina and cervix. If this occurs, newborns might develop oral or throat warts several weeks after birth.
While there’s no definitive confirmation of this correlation, genital warts can still have significant implications for the health of both the pregnant woman and the fetus.
Can pregnant women with genital warts be treated?
Can pregnant women with genital warts be treated? Depending on individual cases, doctors will assess the treatment of genital warts during pregnancy using suitable methods. However, most pregnant women with genital warts exhibit no abnormal symptoms during pregnancy. Consequently, doctors might opt for regular monitoring without specific treatment.
Usually, in cases where pregnant women have genital warts, doctors monitor the progression of the warts to consider treatment options. In the majority of cases, treatment is postponed until after childbirth.
For cases where warts are large and obstructive during delivery or cause excessive bleeding, doctors may consider the following methods to remove the warts:
– Cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen to freeze the genital warts.
– Electrocautery to destroy the genital warts.
– Laser treatment to eliminate the genital warts.
Pregnant women with genital warts should never self-administer non-prescription drugs to treat the condition, as this could pose dangerous side effects during pregnancy or stimulate aggressive growth of genital warts.
Furthermore, pregnant women with genital warts should absolutely avoid the following actions:
– Picking or scratching the genital warts.
– Using corticosteroid-containing creams.
– Applying ice directly to remove genital warts.
– Attempting to peel or cut off genital warts.
If a pregnant woman is concerned about whether genital warts can be treated during pregnancy, she should consult an obstetrician to accurately assess her condition and explore appropriate treatment methods. Genital warts are a highly common and treatable condition. While most cases are not dangerous and typically do not affect the mother or baby, it’s still essential to visit a doctor for examination and treatment.
Is wart treatment safe during pregnancy?
Wart treatments may involve certain procedures like cryotherapy (freezing), topical medications, or surgical removal. Some treatments are considered safe during pregnancy, while others might pose potential risks. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before pursuing any wart treatment while pregnant. They can recommend the safest options for treating warts during pregnancy.
Can you treat HPV while pregnant?
While there’s no cure for HPV (Human Papillomavirus), some treatments can manage its symptoms such as genital warts. However, treatment for HPV itself usually focuses on managing the associated conditions rather than eliminating the virus entirely. Your healthcare provider can suggest appropriate options to address HPV-related issues during pregnancy.
Can genital warts be treated permanently?
Genital warts can be treated and removed, but there’s no absolute guarantee that they won’t reappear. Treatment methods like cryotherapy, laser therapy, or surgical removal can eliminate visible warts, but the HPV virus may remain in the body. Regular monitoring and follow-up with healthcare professionals are recommended for managing and addressing recurrent genital warts.
Can I still have a baby with HPV?
Having HPV, including genital warts, doesn’t necessarily prevent you from having a baby. In most cases, HPV doesn’t affect the ability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term. However, certain HPV-related complications might arise during pregnancy, such as larger or increased numbers of warts due to hormonal changes. Your healthcare provider can offer guidance on managing HPV during pregnancy to reduce potential risks.
See More: Mom Baby Blog