4 Signs You Might Have HPV
Affecting 79 million Americans with more than 100 different strains, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STD in the United States. Typically harmless with symptoms often disappearing on their own, HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer and should not be ignored. Although proper diagnosis by a trusted medical physician is required, here is a list of 4 common symptoms to help you determine your HPV status.
What is HPV?
HPV is a group of viruses that affect the skin. If left untreated, certain types of the virus have been linked to increased risks of cancer, particularly in women. Despite the virus mainly affecting females, men can be carriers of the virus as well and should still be careful. Your body may be able to eradicate the virus on its own but certain strains of HPV have the potential to manifest into undesirable cancerous conditions.
Signs Of HPV
Unusual sores or lumps are one of the more visual symptoms of HPV. Irritation caused by coming in contact with the virus may result in bumps located throughout the top layer of the skin. These warts may occur on or around infected areas of the mouth, anus and genitalia. Although visually displeasing, the warts are harmless and can be easily treated by a doctor.
In addition to warts, HPV can cause a recurring itch both in and around the affected areas. These unpleasant itches are a physical display of your body interacting with the virus. If symptoms persist longer than a week, a doctor may be needed to assess the cause and treat it accordingly.
Hoarseness & Trouble Swallowing
HPV thrives on the mucosa of your body. Your mouth is just as susceptible to the virus as your reproductive organs and irritations such as sores, warts and ulcers can easily form. These agitating bumps are not limited to just your lips however. Commonly found at the base of the tongue by your tonsils, HPV can travel down the esophagus. Despite being more commonly associated with cervical cancer, both oral and oropharyngeal cancers have the potential to develop through the onset of HPV.
No Symptoms at All
HPV can often go undetected with symptoms occurring mildly or not at all. Similar to other sexually transmitted diseases, HPV may be dormant in your system and only become noticeable when the cells become cancerous. It is important to note that strains of HPV that cause warts are not the same as the ones that develop into cancer. Displaying symptoms may not necessarily mean cancer but knowing your HPV status is important for a diagnosis. Currently, there is no surefire way to test for HPV in men but Pap smears can determine the risk level in women. To get an accurate diagnosis through a Pap smear, you must consult a trusted professional to conduct the examination.
How to Prevent HPV
With the virus affecting so many Americans, you may be wondering how you can prevent yourself from coming in contact. While your general practitioner may suggest preventative vaccines such as Gardasil, these vaccines only protect certain women from highly specific strains. A study from Duke University’s School of Medicine discovered a connection between race and prevention due to the vaccine only preventing particular strains that cause cervical cancer in white women. The study concluded that subtypes of the virus might lead to African-American women being more susceptible. While it is a useful means of preventing the spread of the disease, using protection during intercourse highly advised even though it is not 100% effective.
HPV Examinations in New Jersey
If you are sexually active you should take the steps necessary to avoid HPV at all costs. Knowing your current status will not only help you make personal health decisions but prevent the spread as a whole. 11,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year with a survival rate of 91% if detected early, so please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment if you are concerned you may have HPV. The OB-GYN specialists at Women’s First Health Center have years of experience to treat any condition you may be dealing with. Our board-certified physicians are determined to provide you with the most comprehensive women’s health care services for all those in need. To learn more about WFHC, or additional information and guidance about HPV, contact us at (973)-669-5711 and schedule a visit today.