HPV in Men: What every man must know
Since carrying the virus increases a woman's risk of developing cervical cancer, a lot of information regarding the HPV virus (human papillomavirus) is focused on women. But the HPV infection can also harm a man's health. So it's critical that guys comprehend ways to lower their danger of HPV infection.
Although genital cancers are rare, HPV infection can raise a man's risk of developing them. In addition, just like in women, HPV can also cause genital warts in men.
How does HPV spread?
Depending on the strain, HPV is spread through unprotected sex and, in certain cases, through skin-to-skin contact. Although genital warts are sexually transmitted, HPV can also cause other types of warts. These can be spread through touch and are present in various parts of the body. It's crucial to keep in mind that HPV can still be acquired from a person even if they don't exhibit any symptoms. Without even realising it, you might give it to someone else.
Symptoms of HPV in men
The majority of males with HPV do not exhibit any symptoms, although some do form growths or warts.
These could happen on the penis, testicles, anus, thighs, and groin.
Small, huge, flat, raised, or cauliflower-shaped genital warts are all possible. They could show up as a bump or cluster of bumps in the region around the penis, anus, or genitalia. Although these warts rarely hurt, they can be ugly.
Although not all HPV infections are cancerous, some high-risk HPV strains can alter the body in ways that could eventually result in cancer. Because the alterations in HPV-positive cells develop very slowly, a doctor may not detect cancer in a patient for years after they have the virus.
The following are some signs of anal cancer linked to HPV:
- Anus bleeding, discharge, discomfort, or itching
- Changes in bowel habits
Penile cancer may result in:
- changes in colour, skin thickness, or tissue buildup on the penis,
- painful or painless sores or growths that could bleed
HPV diagnosis in men
Because there are no reliable techniques to identify HPV in men, HPV screenings are trickier for guys. Blood tests cannot diagnose HPV. Often, the only method of diagnosis is a visual examination to look for genital warts. Because of this, the majority of HPV cases in men frequently go undiagnosed and untreated. As a result, they might be infected with HPV and pass it to partners while living with it for years. When males experience unusual occurrences and abnormal skin development in the penile, anal, and scrotal regions, they should get medical attention.
How prevalent are HPV-related cancers in men?
Developing cancer from HPV is not a prevalent issue in men.
There are some guys who are more susceptible to HPV-related cancers:
- Poor immune systems in men (including those who are living with HIV).
- Anal HPV is more likely to affect men who have anal intercourse.
How can men lower their chances of getting HPV?
You can take the following two actions to lessen your risk of contracting HPV and its related diseases:
- Receive a vaccine: The HPV vaccine is both secure and reliable. It can shield men from warts, and some malignancies brought on by HPV. Ideally, you ought to get immunised before engaging in sexual activity.
- Always use condoms properly when having sex: This can reduce your risk of contracting HPV as well as other STIs. But HPV can spread to places that a condom does not cover. Therefore, condoms might not fully protect against HPV.
Can HPV be cured?
About 90% of the time, HPV will disappear on its own within two years without the need for therapy or other medical intervention. Although the HPV virus has no known cure, diseases caused by HPV can be treated.. Your doctor may recommend prescription medicine to help you get rid of genital warts if you have them. You can receive the appropriate treatment if you have cancer linked to HPV in any way. Immediately when you start to feel any of these symptoms, you should schedule a visit with your doctor. Although the majority of HPV will go away on their own, if you don’t keep a regular check, you may end up with lifetime health problems.
Additionally, you should be aware that different HPV infections might occur at the same time. You are not immune to HPV in all its variants just because you have it once. To prevent getting HPV again, you should continue to take measures, especially when having sex. You are far more likely to get certain strains if your immune system is compromised. In order to avoid contracting the HPV infection in the first place, it is advised to consult your local health care provider to learn about the recommended age for taking the HPV vaccine.