They may feel soft-to- touch but it’s time you showed them to your doctor even if you think it’s embarrassing.

Their surface looks like a cauliflower but they could be signs of a problem bigger than you think.

Known as genital warts, they are sexually transmitted infections of tiny patches on the genitals and it is quite common for them to appear as a cluster, usually painless but they may sometimes itch.

They can also be found on the lips, mouth, throat and tongue. But it’s also common for genital warts not to appear for months to years after having sexual contact with an infected person.

It takes a longer time for men to be diagnosed with genital growths because they rarely go to hospital and when they do, the symptoms have gotten to an advanced stage.

A major disadvantage is that despite being invisible, they are highly contagious especially during unprotected sex.

According to skin specialist, E.N Kamuri, the growths are so tiny you may not see them with the naked eye; with their size ranging from 1 to 5 mm. Sometimes they can enlarge to a mass and their colour varying from one person to the other based on the individuals descent. “Removing warts has benefits because it lowers the risk of spreading the virus and relieves any uncomfortable feeling, itching or pain,” Dr Kamuri added. When they are treated, it restores self-confidence, Dr Kamuri added. He warns that one should not try to remove the tiny growths by scrapping, cutting or using unprescribed medicine as there are specific treatments meant to stop them from growing, and for boosting the individual’s immunity. Other ways of removing the warts, according to Dr Kamuri, includes destroying them using electric current or using laser light. Who gets genital warts? You are more prone to these warts if you have multiple sexual partners, are sexually active at an early age, have a viral infection, that encourages the warts to grow, or if you have a weakened immune system, due to an illness or medication.

In some people, exposed to the HPV causing genital warts, their bodies are successful in fighting the infection alongside with the treatment and the warts may not appear later.

Research has found that smokers have a higher risk for getting genital warts than people who do not smoke, though the reasons behind smokers being more prone are a subject of ongoing research.

In females, the most probable place to find these warts is inside the vagina, or cervix whereas, in men, they are to be found in thighs and the external reproductive area.

An HPV vaccine can protect from the most common HPV strains that cause genital warts. Wearing a condom every time you have sex can also reduce your risk of contracting genital warts.