What is HPV?
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a virus that can readily cause infection and spreads via intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, etc. from one person to another. It’s not necessary that all people are bound to face health problems due to an HPV infection. In most cases, the problem goes away without any treatment. Nevertheless, if an HPV infection doesn’t subside on its own, it can take months or even years to display symptoms. There are certain types of cancer and genital warts that can be caused due to HPV.
HPV in Men
Even though HPV is one of the most common infections that are transmitted sexually, cancer due to HPV is not that common in men. Mostly men who have a weak immune system or have anal intercourse much often have increased chances of developing cancers related to HPV.
Unfortunately, when it comes to HPV, cervical cancer gets all the hype. But if men are infected with HPV, it can cause serious issues too! Therefore, it is necessary for men to realize the risks of an infection and take measures to reduce them. Even though cancers due to HPV are not that common in men, still, there is a chance of acquiring genital cancers.
How to Recognize HPV in Men
- Don’t ignore the changes:
Check for changes in certain areas of the skin such as penis, scrotum, anus, and backside of your throat. If you notice any warts, cankers, lesions, white patches, or any other abnormalities in these regions, it is time to consult your doctor and start the treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor will evaluate the situation and prescribe medicines to treat the symptoms.
- Risk factors:
Certain risk factors result in such kind of an infection. If you have a weak immune system, you need to be extra careful. If you are a bisexual or a gay man the chances of getting infected are much more likely than straight or heterosexual men.
You have to be aware of the fact that there are no specific tests for HPV in men unlike for women who are at a risk of cervical cancer. If you have penile or anal cancer, you might not even notice any signs or symptoms. The only way out of an unpleasant situation is getting yourself checked up at regular intervals.
- Check for the Following Symptoms:
Genital warts are the first and foremost symptoms in most cases of severe infection by HPV, but they are not the only one. You should check for other abnormalities too. Although it is not necessary that men having anal or penile cancer will encounter these symptoms but if you do, take them seriously. If you notice the following symptoms, immediately consult your doctor.
- Thickening of skin around the penis.
- Prominent tissue mass on the penis.
- Painful or painless sore or growth on the penile area.
- Swelling of lymph nodes in the genital area.
- Unusual bleeding, discharge, itching or pain in the anal region.
- Abnormal bowel movements.
- Reddish rashes.
- Tiny crust-like bumps.
- Growth of brownish-blue flat structures.
- Unusual discharge in uncircumcised men below foreskin.
- Swollen penis end.
- Know what you are looking for:
By now, you must have understood the fact that genital warts are the first thing that you should look for if you are in the process of recognizing HPV. But do you know what these warts look like? Well, most of the men don’t. So, how do you propose to solve a problem if you don’t know what it looks like? To recognize genital warts here are some factors that will help you determine the appearance of genital warts, thus, paving the way for a quick and efficient treatment.
Warts can make an appearance singularly, or they can also be grouped in small clusters. A genital wart is a papule that ranges between a few millimeters as far as the diameter is concerned. It is flesh colored, and a number of papules can join together to form a structure that occupies an area of a few centimeters. A group of papules is known as plaques. They can occur in the scrotum, penis or the anal region and can cause pain, itching or bleeding. Warts look like lumps in the thighs, scrotum, groin, penis, or anus but they can also form any shape. They can also be red, skin-colored, grey, pink, or white.
There are some anatomical structures in the genital area that can easily be confused with genital warts. Make sure you don’t stay tensed due to an unnecessary cause that can’t cause any harm to you.
Diagnosis of Genital Warts
In some cases, a biopsy can be required to identify any existing warts.
- Look for abnormalities in the mouth:
Genitals aren’t the only area affected by HPV. This virus elevates the risk of mouth and throat cancer too. The following are some of the symptoms you can look out for.
- Sudden unexpected loss of weight.
- A sore throat.
- Pain in and around the ears.
- Difficulties in fully opening the mouth, moving of the tongue, and swallowing.
- Lumps in throat, mouth or neck.
- Unexpected changes in the voice that lasts longer than usual hoarseness.
Treatment of HPV
Unfortunately, there is no sure shot or direct cure of HPV. But the conditions and issues that arise from this virus can be treatable.
- Genital warts are treatable by your doctor by prescribing oral or topical medications.
- Visit your physician in case of any unusual symptoms. If cancer is diagnosed at a very early stage, a cancer-specialist can provide a timely and efficient.
- Using condoms while having intercourse with a partner of any gender can reduce the risk of HPV to a great extent.
- Avoid sexual relationship with someone who already has genital warts.
- Most of the doctors recommend refraining from having too many unknown sexual partners.
- Pay a visit to your dentist for regular checkups to recognize any abnormalities in the mouth that could lead to a mouth or throat cancer caused by HPV.