Researchers showed that genital warts, especially in women, “influence their self-esteem and cause a severe impact on sexual life.” – BMC Public Health (1)
More than 90% of women and at least 62% of men claim that HPV genital warts have hurt their self-esteem according to a study. (1)
Because of the impact on self esteem, genital warts also damage the sex lives of those living with the HPV virus.
In fact, other research around the world has shown that women’s self esteem was hurt more than in men. Likewise, the impact of HPV on women’s sex lives was greater than in men. (2)
However, the study showed a direct reversal of these negative effects of HPV infection when the virus was cleared and the genital warts disappeared. In other words, once the immune system beat the HPV virus and the genital warts went away, the self esteem and sex lives improved more in women. (1) In general terms, women are much more sensitive to the impact of HPV on their sex lives.
Study authors wrote that “these results reflect the emotional distress caused by GW that has been found in several studies around the world.
A greater distress in women with external GW lesions is aligned with previous observations where the psychological impact of a sexually transmitted disease diagnosis (regardless of which one) seems to be greater in women than in men.
Nevertheless, our results showed that knowledge of HPV and age was associated with impact on sex life in men. Thus, older men who recognize genital warts as a sexually transmitted disease might be more affected in their sexual life. Recently, a study in the UK reported that male individuals with genital warts (age 25–44) had a lower quality of life than population controls of the same age group. It is worth mentioning that the same study reported a higher impact among women, but without significant variation with age. Although that study observed a recovery trend in quality of life scores after clearance of genital warts, it was not significant, suggesting that the negative impact of genital warts may still be present long after clearance.” (1)
The bottom line?
Genital warts hurt the self-esteem of both men and women, and cause anxiety and fears regarding the ability to have an active and healthy sex life.