Symptoms of HPV in women

HPV, or the human papillomavirus, makes itself known in a variety of ways. The symptoms of HPV in women actually depend on what type of HPV infection they have. There are more than 100 different strains of HPV, and each one can cause different symptoms. It’s even possible that a HPV infection will not cause any visible symptoms at all. This is why many women have no idea that they’re infected with HPV.

Generally, HPV is spread through sexual contact, generally vaginal or anal intercourse, although other sexual contact can also spread the infection. Often, a woman with HPV will develop genital warts near their vagina or anus. This is one of the more common symptoms of HPV, and it’s also the easiest to spot. They appear as moist, soft little swellings that are pink or flesh colored, although they can also be cauliflower shaped. Sometimes these warts are flat against the skin, but other times they are small bumps. They can occur singly or in large groups. These warts can appear on the cervix, the vulva, and in or on the vagina and anus. Again, some people with HPV may never have a breakout of genital warts, while others will see warts appear within weeks or even months after being infected.

Women may also find themselves with cancer or precancerous changes as a result of HPV. These precancerous changes can occur in the vulva, anus, or cervix, and in some rare cases, cancer of the anus or genitals can even occur. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, but fortunately, most women with HPV will not develop cancer. Most women’s immune system will fight off HPV over time; however, those who have long-term HPV infections are at risk for cancer.

There are several strains of HPV that are considered high risk for cervical cancer. While both high and low risk strains of HPV can cause abnormal cells to appear; usually only high risk strains will cause cancer. These strains include HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 68, and 69. One way of identifying these strains is by the warts that appear. These warts are almost always very flat and nearly invisible, while the warts caused by the more common strains (6 and 11) are easier to spot.

There are a number of ways women can work to prevent cervical cancer. First, they need to have regular Pap tests. This allows doctors to identify cervical cancer early, and the earlier it is detected, the better. Second, women need to eat a healthy diet that includes a good amount of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and carotene. These vitamins help reduce the risk of several types of cancers, including cervical cancer. Quitting smoking will also lower the risk of cervical cancer and many other diseases.

Being monogamous is another way for women to protect themselves from HPV. If both partners are HPV-free, they can be assured that they will not bring the disease into the bedroom if they only engage in sexual intercourse with each other. Every extra sexual partner who is brought into the picture brings a chance of HPV. Using a condom during sex is also a good way of protecting yourself from HPV, although it is possible for HPV to spread even when using a condom. This is because warts can appear in places that a condom does not cover. However, condoms can help lower the risk.

Finally, women should look into getting the HPV vaccine. This vaccine is very effective in preventing many strains of HPV, including the most common strains (types 6 and 11). It is also very effective at preventing strains 16 and 18, two of the most common high risk strains.

Last updated on Nov 11th, 2009 and filed under Women's Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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