Human Papillomavirus [HPV] is a sexually transmitted infection. It is a highly contagious infection that spread through vaginal, anal or oral sexual activities. Continue reading to explore more on HPV, pictures, on a male, female, in the mouth, tongue, cervix, and other parts of the skin that may be affected.
What Does HPV Look Like
Human papillomavirus is the most common STI in the United States, about 80 million of the Americans are infected. There are different types of HPV of which some can cause other health problems like genital warts or different types of cancer. Fortunately, you can prevent yourself against HPV by getting a vaccine.
HPV is a highly contagious infection that spread through skin-to-skin contact. You can get infected by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. You can still get the virus even if the infected person doesn’t show the symptoms.
During the initial stages, there is no way you tell if a man if having HPV. The virus in invisible and not characterized by any symptoms until when it reaches advanced stages.
Pap test can be used in female to identify HPV. It is not actually used for testing HPV but it helps to identify abnormal cells in the cervix that may be containing HPV virus.
Does HPV go away on its own? This is a question that may be lingering in your mind if you find out that you are infected. In most cases, HPV normally goes away on its own without causing other health problems. However, if it fails to go away, it may cause other health problems like warts or cancer.
In most cases, HPV normally goes away without causing warts. However, if you have a weak immune system, it may develop into warts. The appearance of warts varies depending on the type of Human papillomavirus that was involved. They include:
- Genital Warts
They can appear as small cauliflower-like bumps, flat lesions or tiny stem-like bumps. They are common on the penis, scrotum, and anus, vulva, inside the vagina or on the cervix. Genital warts do not cause pain although they can become itchy after sexual intercourse of masturbation.
- Common Warts
Common warts are rough and raised bumps. They usually appear on the hands, fingers, and elbows. In most cases, they are unsightly although they become more visible when the skin is stretched. Due to their location, they are prone to injuries and can bleed or become painful.
- Plantar Warts
Plantar warts are characterized by hard or grainy growth that is usually located on the heels and balls of the feet. They may cause itching or other discomforts due to friction with a shoe.
- Flat Warts
They are flat-topped and slightly raised bumps. They usually appear darker than the surrounding skin. Flat warts can appear on any part of the body. In children, they are common on the face and specifically on the beard area. In women, they are common on legs.
Certain types of HPV can also result in a variety of cancers that include cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and oropharynx. It is recommended for women who are between the ages of 21 and above to have a Pap test after ever three years to determine if they are having cervical cancer or not.
The chances of a successful cancer treatment are higher when discovered early. However, teenagers and youth who are sexually active are advised to go for HPV vaccination. It can protect yourself from developing cancer that is related to HPV.
What Does HPV Look Like on a Male?
Most of the men who get infected with HPV never develop symptoms and the infection normally go away on its own without treatment. However, if your body immune system is not strong enough to suppress and clear this infection, it may develop into genital warts or certain types of cancer. It is easy to know how HPV looks like on a male by recognizing signs and symptoms that include:
- Genital Warts Symptoms
Genital warts are caused by certain types of HPV, they are bumps, lumps or growth that appear in the genital or anal area. They are usually located on the penile shaft, under the foreskin, scrotum, around the anus, groin area, and thighs.
They vary in color, shape, and size from tiny, small to large, flat, raised or cauliflower-like, red, pink, yellow-white or grey. They can also cause itching or bleeding when irritated.
- Penile Cancer Symptoms
High-risk HPV can result into penile cancer that is characterized by thickening of the penile skin, painless lump on the penis, small and crusty bumps, swelling at the tip of the penis, reddish rash on the penile head or shaft, smelly discharge from the affected areas.
- Anal cancer symptoms
The chances of developing HPV related cancer is low in men as compared to women. During the initial stages, anal cancer does not cause any symptom. However, it may later cause bleeding, itching, pain, discharge, and changes in the bowel movement.
- Throat and Mouth Cancer Symptoms
Certain types of HPV are also characterized by cancer of throat and back of the mouth. The possible symptoms include a persistence sore throat, sudden weight loss, and a lump in the neck, hoarseness, and ear pain.
What Does HPV Look Like in Mouth?
Human papillomavirus is an STI that commonly affect the genital area, but they can also appear in your mouth. This infection does not cause any symptom during the initial stages. Some years or decades after infection, there may be various symptoms that show how it looks like in your mouth. They include:
During the initial stages of symptoms, HPV in the mouth usually manifests itself as redness or red spots in the mouth. They usually appear on the various part of the mouth that includes the tongue, inside lip, gums, and throat. It does not result in itching although can irritate when eating or swallowing certain foods and drinks.
HPV is also characterized by red or pink spots in the mouth. They may appear as small or tiny spots that are flat or raised. They may become painful to touch or can itch after eating or cleaning your mouth.
- Small or Tiny Warts
Certain types of HPV can also cause small or tiny warts to appear on different parts of your mouth. It can appear as a single wart or in a cluster that looks like a cauliflower. These warts are usually yellow-white or grey in color. They can appear flat or slightly bumpy on the surface of the skin.
- Large Warts
Advanced stages of HPV can cause large warts to appear on various parts of your mouth. The tiny or small warts usually clump together to form large warts. When left untreated, these warts can spread to the lips and other parts of your face.
It is important to note that the appearance of warts in mouth varies from one person to the other. It is therefore recommended to visit your healthcare provider if you notice a strange bump in the mouth that does not go away easily.
What Does HPV Look Like in Female
There are approximate of 40 strains of HPV that can lead to genital warts or cervical cancer in women. In rare cases, certain strains of HPV can also cause vulva or vaginal cancer. The type of HPV that causes genital warts is different from the one that causes cancer.
Many women are infected with HPV but they may not realize unless if it develops into genital warts or other symptoms that are related to cancer. The common symptoms of human papillomavirus in females include:
- Abnormal cells in the cervix that are identified through a pap test.
- Presence of genital warts on the vulva, inside the vagina, around the anus, thighs, and groin area. Other parts of the body like hands, fingers, elbow, heels, and mouth may also get affected.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine that can prevent this sexually transmitted infection. However, the vaccine is recommended between the ages of 9 to 26 years. Teenagers and those in the early twenties may already have contacted the infection if not vaccinated.
Vaccination prevents this infection from developing into cervical cancer, this is according to June Gupta, women’s health nurse practitioner and associate director of medical standards for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Although using a condom reduces the risk of spreading, it does not guarantee a full protection since you can still get infected with skin-to-skin contact.
What Does HPV Look Like on the Tongue?
HPV on the tongue can be identified when it has developed into warts. However, there are a number of ways in which you can acquire genital warts on the tongue. They include:
- Having oral sex with an infected person.
- Touching warts on other parts of your body and touching your mouth or tongue before cleaning them.
- Kissing a person who has warts on the tongue or other parts of the mouth.
- Sharing of person item with an infected person such as oral care products, toothbrush or dentures.
It is important to note that, you will not be catching warts themselves. You will get infected with HPV that will gradually develop into warts after some time.
Warts on the tongue are not painful although they can itch when irritated. Warts on the sides of the tongue are usually painful. This is because they regularly rub against the teeth. Friction can cause bleeding and pain. This can also spread the virus to other parts of the mouth like inside cheeks, the roof of mouth or throat.
Genital warts on tongue normally heal on their own without treatment although it may take a number of years to clear completely. However, there is the various treatment you can use to remove them. Some of them include:
- Laser therapy. Light is used to burn off warts.
- Cryotherapy. This treatment involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the abnormal cells.
- Conization. This is also referred to as cone biopsy. It involves removal of abnormal cells.
- Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. It involves removal of abnormal cells with as aid of electrical current to remove the affected cells.
It is also possible to treat oral warts using home remedies. Although they may take a longer time to heal, the results are always positive.
What Does HPV Look Like on a Cervix?
High-risk HPV can develop into cancer. Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells form and spread in the cervix. In the recent days, there has been an increase in the cases of cervical cancer that is related to HPV. In U.S.A alone, more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with new cases of cervical cancer each year.
During the initial stages of cervical cancer, there may be no any symptom. However, as the condition progresses, you may realize the following symptoms:
- Pain during and after sex
- Unusual vaginal discharge that may be smelly
- Vaginal bleeding
- Lower abdominal pain or discomfort.
The chances of HPV developing into cervical cancer are higher when your body immune system is low. Other factors that increase the risk include smoking, long-term use of birth control pills, being HIV positive and being stressful.
The chances of successful treatment of cervical cancer are higher when detected early. A Pap test can be done to determine if you are having abnormal cells in your cervix. It involves taking some cells from the cervix and sending them to the laboratory for analysis. When the abnormal cells are found, you should seek treatment immediately.
Further Sources and References:
- HPV infection: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hpv-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20351596
- What are the symptoms of HPV? https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/hpv/what-are-symptoms-hpv
- What does HPV in the mouth look like? https://healthfully.com/hpv-mouth-look-like-5020412.html
- What does the HPV virus look like? http://www.howdoeslooklike.com/tag/what-does-the-hpv-virus-look-like/
- How to recognize HPV in men: https://www.wikihow.com/Recognize-HPV-in-Men-(Human-Papillomavirus)
- HPV in women: http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/womens-health/a60126/hpv-in-women/