Human papillomavirus, HPV, is a sexually transmitted disease that causes genital warts. This virus can lead to cancer if left untreated. The virus is spread via vaginal, anal, and/or oral sex with someone who has it. There often are no symptoms, but the person will still be contagious. Anyone who has sex is at risk for HPV. It also may take years for symptoms to develop. For many people, their body fights off the HPV virus and it clears without any issues. If the virus does not clear, then it can cause health issues, including cervical cancer. HPV is not something many people want to talk about. Since it is a sexually transmitted disease, it is often embarrassing to ask questions about it. HPV is more common than you might think, affecting over 79 million people in the United States. Every year, there are 14 million new cases diagnosed. Research shows that almost all men and women who have been sexually active suffer from HPV at one time or another. It needs to be addressed and treated to prevent severe complications. This article will provide you with needed information on HPV and how it can be managed.
There are often no symptoms at all for HPV and it could be very advanced when symptoms appear. The symptoms include:
Genital warts. These tend to look like tiny cauliflower, finger-like bumps, or may even be flat. They are usually on or around the opening to the vagina and the cervix. Men may experience them on or around the penis.
Other symptoms. Other non-specific symptoms are irregular bleeding, bleeding after sex, back pain, leg pain, and fatigue, loss of weight, leg swelling, and vaginal discharge.