5 HPV Symptoms
While human papillomavirus (HPV) infections often go undetected, here are 5 HPV symptoms that may appear when you have the virus. If these signs and symptoms do not appear shortly after infection, you may still have the virus. Symptoms often emerge years later, but you can still pass the virus to someone else.
HPV infections are spread through skin-to-skin contact. While some HPV types are transmitted through sex, the virus can also enter your body through cuts, abrasions, or tears on the skin. Here are five signs to look for.
- Common, Flat, And Plantar Warts. Warts are nonmalignant skin growths caused by HPV infections. They may appear on the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, elbows, knees, face, or neck. Common warts are rough, raised bumps that usually occur in children. Flat warts are flat, raised lesions common in adolescents and young adults. Plantar warts are hard, grainy growths seen mostly in adulthood.
- Genital Warts. Some types of HPV can cause genital warts, a common sexually transmitted disease. The warts may appear as a single flat lesion or a cluster of bumps. They appear in the genital region, on the skin around the penis or anus. Occasionally, they appear in the mouth and throat.
- Precancerous Genital Lesions. Some HPV infections cause precancerous lesions. Cellular changes that produce “low grade” abnormalities usually resolve without treatment. “High grade” abnormalities can advance to cancer.
- Oral And Upper Respiratory Lesions. Depending on type, HPV infections can also cause oral and upper respiratory lesions. Examples are warts and other growths that appear on the tongue, tonsils, soft palate, and larynx. Sometimes HPV lesions form in the nose.
- Cancer And Tumors. Most genital lesions, including genital warts, do not develop into cancer. However, persistent HPV infections mean a greater cancer risk. In men, high-risk HPV infections can cause penile cancer, anal cancer, and neck tumors, as well as cancer of the mouth and upper respiratory tract.