HPV/Genital Warts: are they harmful for my unborn baby?

Patient

Q: Is hpv and gential warts harmful to my unborn baby before and after my pregnancy and wat kind of treatment am i safe to use while breastfeeding?

Doctor

A:   The warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Infection with genital warts may not be obvious sometimes. Genital warts are highly contagious. There is roughly 60% risk of getting the infection from a single sexual contact with someone who has genital warts. It is very important that you get treatment before your baby born to minimize the infection risk of the baby during the delivery in which he may get in contact with the warts. Genital warts often appear or increase in number during pregnancy. Dormant infections may also become activated. Because no treatment is 100% effective, it is important to prevent the spread of HPV which causes genital warts and some cancers whenever possible. Transmission of genital warts can be decreased if you use condoms and refrain from sexual activity until therapy is completed.
Genital warts may go away on their own in about 10%-20% of people over a period of three to four months. The treatment options are as follows: Cryotherapy this freezes the wart using liquid nitrogen or a "cryoprobe." It is an excellent first-line treatment because response rates are high with few side effects. Laser treatment is used for extensive or recurrent genital warts. It may require local, regional, or general anesthesia. The laser destroys the HPV-induced lesion. It is very costly, increased healing time, scarring, and potentially infectious viral particles in the air caused by the laser plume. Electrodessication uses an electric current to destroy the warts. It can be done in the office with local anesthesia. As you see, all these treatment options are local and of course they have nothing to do or interfere with breastfeeding. Genital warts can reoccur in almost a 50% after one year and have been attributed to the following factors: Recurrent infection from a sexual partner, potentially long incubation time of HPV, Persistence of the virus in the surrounding skin, in the hair follicle, or in sites that are missed by the treatment used, deep lesions or lesions that cannot be detected.

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