Condyloma Acuminata & HPV Are Genes to Blame?

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Warts?  Genes?  A Virus.

Condyloma Acuminata.  Also known as anal warts.  A well known and little understood topic.  If  you have anal warts, you are familiar with the misery that these small, fleshy anal protuberances can cause.  The headache and heartache can be both psychological and physical.  Yes, they are transmissible and are thought of as an STD (sexually transmitted disease).  They may be passed in other, non-sexual ways as well.  And, they can be symptomatic, with itching, bleeding, pain and an odor.

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While the manifestations of anal warts are important, equally important is the genetic cause of the warts.  The warts are generally benign and harmless, causing only symptomatic issues.  They are caused by the ubiquitous HPV virus (human papilloma virus) which is quite common in all people.  However, the same HPV virus is thought also to be responsible for anal cancer (the cancer that Farrah Fawcett had), oropharyngeal (throat) cancer and cervical cancer.  And that is where the commonality between symptoms and genetics occurs.

Many Strains (Genotypes).

Depending on which research you read, there are between 60 and 200 different types of HPV.  Each type is called a genotype. There are approximately 30 genotypes can infect warm, moist areas such as the anal area, the throat and the cervix, and can be spread by sexual contact as well as many other non-sexual ways.  While many people may be infected, it is thought that 90% of infections resolve.  When they do not resolve, inflammation leading to the development of a cancer may begin.

Without getting too detailed, genotypes 6 and 11 are responsible for most anal warts.  Genotypes 16, 18, 31, 33 and 35 seem to place patients at highest risk for anal cancer (and cervical cancer).  Hence the reported value of having regular cervical Pap smears for women, and anal Pap smears for high risk men and women.

Warts Be Gone.

In patients with anal warts, treatment may effectively eradicate the disease.  Treatment may include topical ointments, creams, freezing, acid treatment, and surgical removal.  At the time of removal, the warts may be tested to determine the underlying genotype.  Random anal and rectal biopsies may be taken to possibly disclose invisible HPV infections.  If high risk HPV genotypes are found, regular exams will be performed and intense monitoring will be instituted, watching for the development of anal cancer, which develops in approximately 7,000 people per year.  If a routine anal Pap smear (performed in high risk individuals with no visible manifestations of infection), discloses inflammation, anorectal biopsies may be performed to look for high risk genotypes and institute surveillance.

In Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Culver City, there are proctologists, also known as colon and rectal surgeons or coloproctologists, who can help you understand the scope of the problem, examine you and treat you if necessary.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates

At Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates, the surgeons are board certified and trained in all aspects of the diagnosis and treatment of anal warts and HPV infections.  Consultations are confidential and, treatment, if necessary,  can be started quickly.  Protect yourself with knowledge and with regular, painless examinations.  (310)273-2310.

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