Genital Warts and Pregnancy – Treatment Options While Expecting
Genital warts are one of the symptoms of HPV or human papilloma virus infection, which is one of the most common viruses that are transmitted through sexual contact. People who are highly susceptible to genital warts are not only those who engage in risky sexual behaviors and those who are sexually active, but also the pregnant women due to the fact that the immune system is likely suppressed during pregnancy and due to increase in progesterone level. Moreover, those women who already have genital warts before they were pregnant are likely to encounter the signs and symptoms during their pregnancy.
During pregnancy, women are at higher risk of developing wide spread and extensive warts. Though most of the time, they still have healthy and normal pregnancies. However, having genital warts and pregnancy should be of primary concern because in some cases, they can cause complications both to the mother and the baby. Genital warts are not a threat to fetal development but the baby is at risk for contracting the virus during childbirth. Aside from that, the baby is at risk for laryngeal papillomatosis, which is a fatal disorder.
Genital Warts and Pregnancy Treatment Options
If you have genital warts and you are suspecting that you are pregnant, the best thing to do is to consult your gynecologist. Never self medicate as it may cause harm to you or to your unborn baby. Keep in mind that not all medications are safe to use during pregnancy. Over the counter medications that should be avoided during pregnancy are those that are acid based and those that contain podofilox.
One of the safest methods of treating genital warts during pregnancy is through cryotherapy or cryosurgery. This method involves freezing of the genital warts with the use of liquid nitrogen. The number of treatments will depend on the thickness or size of the warts. This procedure is usually done in the doctor’s clinic or office.
If cryotherapy fails to remove the genital warts, the doctor may opt for surgery. Surgical options for pregnant women include surgical excision, laser surgery, electrocautery, and loop electrosurgical excision procedure or LEEP. Surgical excision is done by cutting the warts off using a scalpel or a surgical knife. Laser surgery makes use of laser waves to remove the warts. Electrocautery uses a low-voltage electrified probe to burn the genital warts. Lastly, the loop electrosurgical excision procedure or LEEP removes genital warts with the use of an electrified wire loop which uses a thin and low volt to separate the wart from the skin.
Your doctor will help you determine which method is safest for you and your baby. Also, the number of treatments will depend on the size, thickness, location, and widespread of the warts. In rare cases, large warts cannot be removed even with surgery. If this is the case, the pregnant woman may need to undergo caesarean section. This is because the genital warts can be transmitted to the unborn baby if the baby is delivered vaginally.