The human papillomavirus, or HPV, infection causes small bumps (warts) on the genitals, anus and in the anal canal. Vaccines can help to protect against many strains of HPV. There are more than 70 varieties of the HPV virus that cause anal genital warts. The viruses may exhibit symptoms on areas of the body other than the genitals. In rare cases, certain types of the HPV can lead to precancerous conditions in the cervix, vagina, anus or mouth. Women are especially at risk of getting cervical cancer if HPV infection goes untreated.
HPV can be prevented by following safe sex practices to lower contraction risks
For many men and women there may be no visible symptoms manifesting as a result of HPV infection. People often see anal warts or genital warts as a result of infection, but they may also not see the telltale signs of infection until months or years after contracting the virus. For women, an abnormal pap smear may be the first signs of HPV. Now men, too, should be tested with anal pap smears. This is available in-office at Dr. Aronoff’s office. Once contracted, there are good options to treat anal warts and genital warts. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get proper screenings on a regular basis.
While the first step to identifying the symptoms of HPV infection is a doctor examination, special procedures may be necessary to find the symptoms. An in-office procedure called colposcopy / high-resolution anoscopy can be used to spot warts that cannot be seen via visual examinations. More importantly, this modified microscope can help the doctor detect abnormal areas (dysplasia) and take biopsies for further evaluations and treatment to prevent cancer. Again, these procecures are available in-office.
Treatments for anal warts and genital warts
Make an appointment with a doctor at the first sign of any warts or genital growths. Remember that in some cases the HPV infection can cause bumps on other parts of the body. A colorectal doctor may recommend a variety of treatment options, including topical treatments such as imiquimod cream, podofilox gel. The topical treatments that are self-applied are usually coordinated with doctor-applied topical treatments. Surgery, in some instances, may be an option for those who want fast relief in infected areas. All these procedures are available in-office with Dr. Aronoff and Colorectal Associates.
Common influences for HPV infections
- The HPV infection is almost always caused by sexual activity
- Incubation period is variable
- Tobacco and alcohol may increase the likelihood of transmitting the virus
- Pregnant women are more likely to contract HPV
What do symptoms of HPV look like?
- Warts, bumps or spots that are raised or flat may be a result of HPV
- Most often the symptoms exhibit themselves on genitals and the anus
- Growths sometimes appear on lips, mouth, tongue and throat
- In rare cases growths may appear on legs or other parts of body
- Growths can look like cauliflower or irregular
- Growths may be difficult to spot and could take months or years to exhibit
HPV vaccines are sometimes recommended for children and young adults. Those who are sexually active are especially susceptible to the effects of infection.