What is Human Papillomavirus or HPV?
Human papillomavirus, commonly called HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI).
There are more than 200 types of human papillomavirus. Of these, 40 types can infect various parts of your genital area (vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus, penis and scrotum). It can also affect your mouth and throat. Some strains of HPV can also cause warts on the hands and feet. But these aren’t sexually transmitted.
Genital HPV infections are quite common amongst people who are sexually active. Most people with HPV would not exhibit any symptoms. Hence, they might not even realise they were infected in the first place.
It is usually harmless and goes away on its own. However, some types of HPV can lead to cancer or genital warts. Two particular types of HPV (type 16 and 18) lead to the majority of cancer cases. These are called high-risk HPV. The most common type of cancer caused by HPV is cervical cancer.
Unfortunately, most people who have high-risk HPV will not show any symptoms until it progresses into much more severe conditions. Regular medical check-ups can go a long way in early detection and effective management of the condition.
If HPV results in cancer, it can result in the following symptoms.
- Penile cancer: Changes in the colour or thickness of the skin of the penis, painful sores on the penis
- Anal cancer: Anal bleeding, pain, itching, discharge of changes in bowel habits
- Vulvar cancer: Changes in the colour or thickness in the skin of the vulva, chronic pain, itching or lump in the vulva
- Throat cancer: chronic sore throat, ear pain, constant coughing, pain or difficulty in swallowing and/or breathing, sudden weight loss, lump or mass in the neck.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, visit a cancer hospital in Gurgaon immediately to diagnose or rule out any condition. Early detection of cancer is the best way to better the prognosis.
Presently, there is no cure for HPV. High-risk HPV can take years to cause cancer, so regular health check-ups can help prevent this progression. There are vaccines available which can prevent high risk HPV and types of HPV that causes genital warts. Remember, if you are sexually active, then don’t ignore your regular screening for STIs and STDs.
About the Author:
Mahima, a Software Engineer by education turns to a content writer by profession, who specializes in health, beauty, and fitness. She loves to write about fitness and beauty.