Condyloma, also known as genital warts, is an infection caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Generally, the incubation period for condyloma is 2-3 months from transmission, but it can be much longer. So you could be living with condyloma without realizing it.
The virus causes warts which may appear on the penis, foreskin and edge of the glans (the helmet), on the labia and around the vagina, on the cervix, and in and around the anus.
The warts may also occur in the urethra. Condyloma can be hard to detect, partly because the warts are skin colored and partly because they can be small and flat. Condyloma has no other symptoms than warts.
Not everyone, however, gets warts from condyloma, which means people can have it without being aware of it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get checked for condyloma regularly at a clinic.
There are HPV viruses that don’t produce visible warts but can lead to changes in the cervix and eventually to cervical cancer. The links between HPV and oral and rectal cancer are currently being studied.
How is condyloma passed on?
Condyloma is transmitted via anal and vaginal sex. There is really no foolproof way of protecting yourself against condyloma,as the warts can be in places not covered by a condom, for example.
There are several different ways of treating condyloma. The most common is an acid solution which you brush on for three days and which chemically removes the warts. This can be repeated if necessary. Condyloma can also be treated in several other ways depending on where the warts are. A blue liquid can be applied to them to make them go away. A doctor can gently cut or freeze them off. Another way is to burn them off using a laser or electricity. It can be hard to get rid of the condyloma completely, so the warts may reappear. The infection does, however, often heal up by itself in 4-6 months. There are cases of longer healing then that though.
The earlier the condyloma is discovered, the less likely it is to spread, and the simpler the treatment. So you can only gain from finding out whether or not you have condyloma!