HPV – Symptoms in Men & Women

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HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus and is a common STD found in both men and women. There are currently more than 50 types of HPV known. These HPV cause fleshy growths on the genital or anus areas of both men and women.

What is HPV?

HPV is an STD that is transmitted by physical contact or sexually from males to females, females to females, or males to males. It is estimated that over 50% of sexually active people acquire HPV at one point in time. At the current time it is estimated that around 20,000,000 people are infected with the Human Papillomavirus. Each year an additional 6 million men and women become infected. Of these people approximately 12 thousand women develop cervical cancer that is associated with HPV. Another 2,000 children and adults develop a condition called RRP each year. This condition develops when HPV is transmitted to the throat and mouth region.

How Is HPV Transmitted?

Human Papillomavirus is transmitted by contact of genitals. This may occur during the course of sex. However, sexual intercourse is not a requirement of the transmission of HPV. Physical contact of the genitalia can pass the virus from one person to another. HPV can also be passed from one partner to another during oral sex. In this case the condition is called RRP. RRP causes warts to develop in the throat. While it is rare, there are possibilities that mothers can also pass HPV on to their unborn babies during delivery. These babies will develop RRP.

How Do I Know If I Have HPV?

It is not uncommon for people to become infected with HPV and not know about it. In fact, in many cases the body will naturally destroy the virus within two years and the person may never know they had become infected. However, if the body does not natural fight off the virus certain signs and symptoms may develop.

HPV Symptoms in Women and Men

Women and men often experience many of the same symptoms and signs. Genital warts, warts in the throat, cervical cancer, cancer of the genitalia, throat, tongue and tonsils are all symptoms of this condition.

Most warts begin as a small bump or a small cluster of bumps in the genital area. These bumps may stay small, become large, become raised or remain flat. In some cases these bumps may even develop the appearance of a cauliflower. These warts may go away without treatment or continue to grow in size. In any case genital warts do not develop into cancer. If HPV develops into cervical cancer there are usually no symptoms until the cancer is very advanced. In any case the key to proper treatment is early diagnosis by a professional.

How Is HPV Diagnosed? How to Test For HPV?

There is currently no way to diagnose HPV on its own. Doctors can only diagnose the conditions caused by HPV. For example, women can undergo a pap test to test for changes in the cervix or get screened for cervical cancer. Cells scraped from the cervix are then sent to be examined under a microscope for any abnormal cells. Two strains of HPV – types 6 and 11 cause 90 percent of all genital warts cases.

Men can be examined for the presence of genital warts. These tests will diagnose the conditions caused by the virus but not the virus. Scientists are currently working to develop a test for HPV but there is nothing available yet.

HPV Treatment – How Is HPV Treated?

There is no treatment on the market for the HPV virus. In many cases the virus is destroyed naturally by a person’s immune system.

However, if the virus develops into another condition such as warts or cancer, doctors will treat the additional condition. There are medications available to treat warts that develop in the throat or genitals. There are also surgical procedures that can help to remove warts that are impairing the ability to breathe or swallow.

If HPV Is Not Treated?

Currently the only option for treating HPV is prevention. There are two different immunizations that can be given to prevent the spread of the virus. If these immunizations are not utilized HPV can be spread from partner to partner. Because there is no treatment for the virus it can advance into many different forms of cancer including cervical cancer. In fact, HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women.

HPV Prevention – How To Prevent HPV

Can HPV Be Cured?

There is currently no cure for the Human Papillomavirus. In order to prevent the spread of the disease it is recommended that uninfected females between the ages of 13 and 26 should receive immunization for the virus (a vaccine called Gardasil) before they are exposed through sexual contact. Men and boys can also receive this immunization, however; it is not part of the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for boys.