Human papillomavirus or HPV has more than 100 varieties. Though the infection can be transmitted variously via hands, blood, shared objects, and so on, mostly the virus spreads through sexual activity. In 90% of cases, the infection regresses to a subclinical condition in a maximum of two years. If left untreated, it may lead to cervical cancer in women. Thus, early diagnosis and remedial measures are crucial when it comes to this infection. Keep reading for a list of signs that should provoke a medical investigation for HPV infection.

Genital Warts

This symptom is the most common of all associated with HPV. It usually alerts you to the fact that you have an infection. Genital warts can appear as flat lesions, stem-like outgrowths or even cauliflower-like bumps. As a woman, you will most likely find them on the vulva. In some cases, the cervix, vagina, or anus may be affected. In men, the penis, scrotum, and anus are sites of occurrence. These warts are not painful in most instances though sometimes they may itch.


Common Warts

You may develop common skin warts caused by HPV on the fingers, hands, and elbows. They may not be painful or itchy but tend to be conspicuous and rough-looking. Since they are so exposed and uncovered, common warts are more prone to injury and bleeding as well. It is important to remember that the removal of warts does not necessarily treat the virus itself. Thus, getting these unsightly warts does not undo the possibility of their recurrence.


Flat Warts

This type of warts is most common in children, teenagers, and young adults with HPV infection. They appear as raised, flat outgrowths on the skin that are distinctive due to their darkened color. Flat warts generally occur in places where the tendency to scratch is more pronounced. These areas include your face, neck, and legs. Since these types are smaller than other warts in appearance, they may be mistaken for acne or allergies, especially on the face.


Plantar Warts

The same strains of HPV that cause common warts will create plantar warts as well. However, these tend to occur in places that undergo continued stress and pressure such as the balls of the feet or heels. They are hard and grainy in appearance. Given the site of occurrence, plantar warts may also become painful in most instances. If they are not painful, however, they may go unnoticed since they are present in less conspicuous locations of the body.


Lesions of the Upper Respiratory Tract

More severe and debilitating forms of HPV infection cause lesions in the upper respiratory tract. These lesions can occur on any part of the respiratory tract, including the nose, mouth, and lungs. The most common site is the larynx or vocal cords. When HPV infects the vocal cords, hoarseness is a common symptom. If it affects other parts of the respiratory tract, it can cause difficulty breathing. It is important to seek proper medical treatment to prevent the condition from worsening over time.


Sores on the Tongue or Mouth

HPV is so potent as to cause canker sores on the tongue or mouth, particularly the soft palate. Sores in the mouth have a variety of causes other than canker sores. Rarely, they can be a sign of oral cancer. If mouth or tongue sores persist for more than two weeks, see your doctor or dentist.


Problems with Sexual Activity

Some types of HPV infection increase the risk of cancer of the cervix. Thus, women with HPV should watch for signs and symptoms of cervical cancer. These include painful intercourse, bleeding after sexual activity, bleeding between periods, bleeding or spotting after menopause, or abdominal pain. If you have any of these symptoms, see your physician right away.


Pelvic Pain

Another early sign of cervical cancer is pelvic pain. Women who have had HPV infections in the past should be wary of unexplained pain in the pelvic regions. This sign may signify the onset of cancerous growth in the genital tract. Once again, do not hesitate to demand immediate medical attention.


Rectal Bleeding

Rectal cancer is a complication of HPV infections, just like cervical cancer. However, rectal cancer may occur in both men and women. Anal bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of rectal cancer. You may have discoloration of stool or separate red discharge after a bowel movement. If you have these signs of HPV, go to the emergency room.


Pain and Itching in Anal Region

If you have a history of HPV infections, then you may also develop pain and itching in the anal region. This sign might occur when passing gas or otherwise as well. Nothing to joke about, this symptom may be a sign of a growing cancerous tumor in the rectal region. You should consult with a medical provider right away for a health evaluation.


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