HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and a common cause of skin or mucous membrane warts. There are more than 100 forms of Orlando HPV, sometimes causing warts and various cancers. Although most HPV infections don’t lead to cancer, some types of genital HPV can cause cervical cancer. HPV infection has also been associated with cancers of the vagina, anus, penis, vulva, and back of the throat. While these infections are mainly transmitted sexually, they can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
The symptoms of HPV infection
HPV does not always cause symptoms since your body’s immune system defeats the infection before warts form. However, sometimes warts can appear; when they do, they vary in appearance depending on the type of HPV you have.
- Genital warts. These appear as tiny protrusions or flat lesions. In women, genital warts appear on the vulva but can also occur in the vagina, cervix, or around the anus. In men, genital warts appear on the penis, scrotum, or around the anus. Genital warts do not cause pain, but they may itch or feel tender.
- Plantar warts. These growths are grainy and hard; they usually appear on the balls or heels of your feet and might cause discomfort.
- Flat warts. These slightly raised lesions with a flat surface can appear anywhere. Children tend to get them on their faces while men get them in the beard area. In women, flat warts mostly appear on the legs.
- Common warts. These are raised bumps with a rough surface and usually appear on hands and fingers. They are unsightly and can be painful, and are also prone to injury or bleeding.
HPV and cervical cancer
Almost all cervical cancers result from HPV infections, but cervical cancer may take up to 20 years to develop after an HPV infection. Further, HPV infection and early cervical cancer don’t cause noticeable symptoms; signs and symptoms tend to appear when the disease progresses. Fortunately, getting vaccinated against HPV infection can protect you from cervical cancer.
Since early cervical cancer causes no symptoms, healthcare professionals recommend regular screening tests for women ages 21 to 29. With routine Pap tests, your doctor can detect any abnormal changes in the cervix that might lead to cancer and recommend treatment before cancer develops.
What causes HPV infection?
You can get an HPV infection when the virus enters your body through abrasion or a small tea to your skin. Skin-to-skin contact is the primary mode of transmission of the virus. However, genital HPV infections are mainly contracted through skin-to-skin contact in the genital region; this includes sexual intercourse and anal sex. Through oral sex, you can contract HPV infections that cause upper respiratory lesions.
Your baby may get an HPV infection if you are pregnant and have genital warts. Although rare, the infection can cause a growth in the baby’s larynx. Warts are highly contagious; they can spread through direct contact with a wart.
If you have further questions about HPV infection, consult your healthcare provider at Contemporary Women’s Care.