Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common infection, but because side effects range from inconvenient warts to life-threatening cancers, it is important to be as educated and protected as possible.
Skin-to-skin contact is all it takes to spread HPV, so if you’re not sure about your HPV risks – or if you’ve ever wondered, “should I get an HPV vaccine?” – it’s time to learn the facts, starting with common HPV symptoms.
Common Symptoms of HPV
What does HPV look like? Not every infection will cause visible changes, but there are some common HPV symptoms that everyone should be able to identify. Lesions and warts may appear almost anywhere on your body, but you may not recognize them as HPV unless you know what to expect.
Here are some of the most common symptoms and signs of HPV:
- Genital Warts – Different HPV varieties may cause growths on your genitals, but these growths vary in color, dimension, shape, size, and number. Tell your doctor if you notice flat, stem-like, or cauliflower-like warts anywhere near your anus, groin, cervix, or vagina. They may be pink or flesh-tone, alone or clustered together, large or small – whatever the warts look like, rule out HPV with a thorough examination and HPV screening
- Plantar Warts – These hardened, small growths may appear on weight-bearing parts of your foot, especially the heel and ball
- Common Warts – Not always a sign of HPV, regular raised warts on your hands or fingers may suddenly appear as a result of HPV infection
- No Symptoms – Unfortunately, the HPV varieties linked to cervical cancer are the same ones linked to asymptomatic infections. This is why it’s so important to get regular pap smears and screenings that actually check for HPV
While most visible signs of HPV aren’t painful, constant itching can lead to pain and bleeding – and the infection itself can lead to serious and even fatal consequences, including cervical cancer. Whether or not you have HPV symptoms now, your first step should be to schedule a screening. If your screening is negative, it’s time to protect yourself against future infections with an HPV vaccine.
Your HPV Vaccine Options
The earlier HPV is detected and HPV treatment is started, the better your chances of recovery and survival. But there’s one solution better than prompt HPV treatment: HPV prevention. If you want to reduce your cancer risks and protect yourself, consider a series of simple shots. Gardasil is available for ages 9 through 26, and it only takes two or three shots to protect your immune system from future contact with HPV.
Get an HPV Vaccine or Screening in Little Rock
Protect yourself from the symptoms and complications of HPV by making an appointment at the Woman’s Clinic by calling us at (501) 664-4131. Our team will give you more information about the pros and cons of HPV vaccines, which we offer alongside regular HPV screenings to detect infection as soon as possible.