Condyloma (plural: “Condylomata”, from Greek “kondyloma” “knuckle”) refers to an infection of the genitals.
The two subtypes are:
- Condyloma acuminata, also known as anogenital warts, are caused by Human Papilloma Virus
- Condylomata lata, white lesions associated with secondary Syphilis
Condyloma Acuminata or genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). They are generally pink in colour and project out from the surface of the skin. Usually, they cause few symptoms, but can occasionally be painful. Typically they appear one to eight months following exposure. Warts are the most easily recognized symptom of genital HPV infection.
HPV types 6 and 11 are the typical cause of genital warts. It is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, usually during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner. Diagnosis is generally based on symptoms and can be confirmed by biopsy. The types of HPV that cause cancer are not the same as those that cause warts.
Signs & Symptoms
Genital warts may occur singly (condyloma acuminatum) but are more often found in clusters (Condylomata acuminata) . They may be found anywhere in the anal or genital area, and are frequently found on external surfaces of the body, including the penile shaft, scrotum, or labia majora of the vagina. They can also occur on internal surfaces like the opening to the urethra, inside the vagina, on the cervix, or in or around the anus.
They can be as small as 1-5 mm in diameter, but can also grow or spread into large masses in the genital or anal area. In some cases, they look like small stalks of cauliflower. They may be hard (“keratinized”) or soft. Their colour can be variable, and sometimes they may bleed.
Condylomata lata or condyloma latum, is a cutaneous (relating to or affecting the skin) condition characterized by wart-like lesions on the genitals. They are generally symptoms of the secondary phase of syphilis, caused by the spirochete, Treponema pallidum.
Condylomata lata occurs in about one-third of secondary syphilis patients and is characterized by painless, mucosal, and warty erosions which are flat, velvety, moist and broad base in nature. They tend to develop in warm, moist sites of the genitals and perineum. These lesions hold a high accumulation of spirochetes and are highly infectious. Complete resolution of the lesions is spontaneous and occurs after a few days to many weeks, where it is either resolved completely or enters the tertiary phase, defined by a latent state.
How do you get genital warts?
Transmission of warts can occur, even if warts are not visible. It is spread by direct contact with the anus, mouth, penis or vagina of an infected person. Intercourse is not necessary to spread the infection. It can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. Two-thirds of persons who had intimate contact with an infected partner will develop symptoms within three months of contact.