Warts. What Are They?
Anal warts, also known as condyloma acuminata, are common, may develop in clusters and are contagious. They are viruses. They are a fact of modern life. They may be sexually transmitted or, they may be transmitted in a non-sexual manner. Anal warts are a minor nuisance, but may become a major nuisance, and are thought to be the precursors of anal cancer in some cases. Your proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon or coloproctologist, can help in educating you about these viruses.
The warts are actually viruses in the virus family called the human papilloma virus (HPV), and can be spread through contact. Whether that contact is sexual or otherwise is not important to a patient who has the disease. What is important, is the cure. What is equally important, is prevention.
There are many strains of condyloma, and each strain is called a genotype, meaning that it is a subtype of the gene that causes the development of the warts. When a wart is removed and sent to the laboratory for analysis, a report returns which identifies the genotype of the wart or warts. A patient may have more than one genotype. Certain of the genotypes, numbers 6, 11, 42, 44 and others, cause anal warts. Others, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35 are linked to the development of anal cancer.
When found, the warts should be removed. There are a variety of procedures using medications, creams, chemicals and immunomodulators (immune system boosters) that may be effective during in office treatment.
When these treatments fail, surgical removal is needed. The operation is performed in an outpatient setting, and vigilance is needed in the postoperative period to watch for recurrences. Unfortunately, treatment is akin to closing the barn door after the horse has already left.
Obviously, it is preferable to avoid developing anal condyloma in the first place. Safe sex practices and barrier protections such as condoms are a good idea, but they are not fool proof.
Prevention. Better Than A Cure.
Gardasil®, is a vaccine that is given in 3 separate shots over 6 months. It is protective against infection by genotypes 6, 11, 16 and 18. These are the common genotypes associated with warts and anal cancers. The vaccine works very well in preventing disease. It will not be effective in those who already have an infection.
As many women and men are exposed to the virus in the sexual years, the vaccine is recommended to be given prior to exposure to the virus. And, as always, both women and men should continue to have regular checkups by a physician experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Los Angeles Colon And Rectal Surgical Associates.
The proctologists of Los Angeles Colon And Rectal Surgical Associates have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. Taking the first step, vaccination, followed by the next step of safe transmission practices are your best opportunities to avoid a difficult disease. Should you develop a problem, our surgeons in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, are available for consultation and treatment. (310)273-2310