Genital warts are growths on the genital area. They are a sexually transmitted disease (also called STD). An STD is a disease you can get from having sex with someone who has the disease. You can get an STD from vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Genital warts are growths on the genital area. They can look like small, skin-colored bumps or like clusters shaped like cauliflower. Genital warts aren’t always easy to see.
Genital warts are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (also called HPV). Some types of HPV, including genital warts, can increase your risk of cervical cancer.
About 1 out of 100 sexually active adults (1 percent) have genital warts. More than 6 million people in this country become infected with genital warts each year.
Can genital warts cause complications during pregnancy?
Yes. Hormone changes during pregnancy can cause genital warts to get bigger. They may grow so big that they block the vagina, making a cesarean section (also called c-section) necessary.
Very rarely, HPV can pass from mother to baby, causing warts to grow on the baby’s vocal chords.
How do you know if you have genital warts?
Even if you can’t see the warts, they may itch or burn. If you think you have genital warts, tell your health care provider.
Your provider may give you a prescription medicine to put directly on the warts. A prescription is an order for medicine written by a health care provider. If the warts grow large and uncomfortable, your provider can safely remove them during pregnancy with laser surgery or cryotherapy (freezing).
How can you protect yourself from genital warts and HPV?
Here’s how to protect yourself:
- If you’re younger than 26 and not pregnant, get the HPV vaccine. This vaccine protects against two types of HPV that cause most genital warts and cervical cancers. The HPV vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy.
- Get tested and treated. If you find out you have genital warts, get treatment right away.
- Don’t have sex. This is the best way to prevent yourself from getting an STD, including HPV.
- If you have sex, have sex with only one person who doesn’t have other sex partners. Use a condom if you’re not sure if your partner has an STD. Ask your partner to get tested and treated for STDs.
Last reviewed April 2013
Frequently Asked Questions
What is mononucleosis?
Mononucleosis (also called mono) is an infection usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It’s sometimes caused by another virus called cytomegalovirus (CMV). EBV and CMV are part of the herpes virus family. Mono is most common in teenagers and young adults, but anyone can get it. Mono is called the “kissing disease” because it’s usually passed from one person to another through saliva. In addition to kissing, it can also be passed through sneezing, coughing or sharing pillows, drinks, straws, and toothbrushes.
You can have mono without having any symptoms. But even if you don’t get sick, you can still pass it to others. Symptoms can include:
- Achy muscles
- Belly pain
- Fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands in your neck
If your symptoms don’t go away or get worse, tell your health care provider. He’ll most likely do a physical exam and test your blood to find out for sure if you have mono.
There’s no vaccine to prevent mono. There’s also no specific treatment. The best care is to take it easy and get as much rest as you can. It may take a few weeks before you fully recover.
Can Rh factor affect my baby?
The Rh factor may be a problem if mom is Rh-negative but dad is Rh-positive. If dad is Rh-negative, there is no risk.
If your baby gets her Rh-positive factor from dad, your body may believe that your baby's red blood cells are foreign elements attacking you. Your body may make antibodies to fight them. This is called sensitization.
If you're Rh-negative, you can get shots of Rh immune globulin (RhIg) to stop your body from attacking your baby. It's best to get these shots at 28 weeks of pregnancy and again within 72 hours of giving birth if a blood test shows that your baby is Rh-positive. You won't need anymore shots after giving birth if your baby is Rh-negative. You should also get a shot after certain pregnancy exams like an amniocentesis, a chorionic villus sampling or an external cephalic version (when your provider tries to turn a breech-position baby head down before labor). You'll also want to get the shot if you have a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or suffer abdominal trauma.
I had a miscarriage. How long should I wait to try again?
Before getting pregnant again, it's important that you are ready both physically and emotionally. If you don't need tests or treatments to discover the cause of the miscarriage, it's usually OK for you to become pregnant after one normal menstrual cycle. However, it may take longer for you to feel emotionally ready to be pregnant again. Everyone responds differently to a miscarriage. Only you will know when you are ready to try to get pregnant again.
Are gallstones common during pregnancy?
Not common, but they do happen. Elevated hormones during pregnancy can cause the gallbladder to function more slowly, less efficiently. The gallbladder stores and releases bile, a substance produced in the liver. Bile helps digest fat. When bile sits in the gallbladder for too long, hard, solid nuggets called gallstones can form. The stones can block the flow of bile, causing indigestion and sometimes serious pain. Staying at a healthy weight during pregnancy can help lower your risk of gallstones. Exercise and eating foods that are low in fat and high in fiber, like veggies, fruits and whole grains, can help, too. Symptoms of gallstones include nausea, vomiting and intense, continuous abdominal pain. Treatment during pregnancy may include surgery to remove the gallbladder. Gallstones in the third trimester can be managed with a strict meal plan and pain medication, followed by surgery several weeks after delivery.