Screening and treatment for HPV
How to Test Yourself for HPV Genital Warts
HPV, otherwise known as the Human Papillomavirus, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. One of the most notable symptoms of this condition is the appearance of wart-like growths around the genitals. If you are concerned you have contracted HPV, you can do an at-home evaluation and then follow up with a medical professional.
Recognizing Genital Warts
Learn what HPV genital warts look like.If you want to diagnosis HPV-related genital warts, the first step is familiarizing yourself with their appearance. This can help you differentiate genital warts from other skin conditions and STDs such as herpes.
- HPV genital warts appear in a variety of forms. They may be flat lesions or small, cauliflower-like bumps.
Pay attention to itching.Genital warts rarely cause pain. However, they may become quite itchy. If you notice any unusual lesions near your genitals that itch, they may be HPV related.
Understand where genital warts usually appear.You can identify HPV genital warts by knowing where they generally appear. HPV warts occur in specific areas on men and women.
- Genital warts usually appear around the penis or scrotum in men.
- In women, genital warts usually appear on the vulva but may also appear near the anus, on the cervix, or inside the vagina.
- While these are the most common areas of appearance, HPV warts can appear anywhere on the body including non-genital areas.
Getting a Medical Diagnosis
See a doctor.If you suspect you may have HPV genital warts, you should see a doctor. There is no single test used to diagnose HPV. Most HPV tests (such as a pap smear for women) are used to check for cancer-causing subtypes — it is important to note that these arenotthe same as the subtypes that cause genital warts. Your doctor can diagnose HPV warts by taking your medical history and performing a physical examination.
- Your doctor will ask about your history of exposure to sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis or trichomoniasis.
- She may also do a biopsy or scrapping of the warts if needed to confirm their etiology.
- She will check for genital discharges and other symptoms. The doctor may ask about the color and smell of the vaginal or penis discharge.
- Your doctor will also ask about your sex practices and sexual behavior. Do you use condoms with your partner? Do you have more than one sex partner?The doctor may also ask if you have heterosexual intercourse, homosexual intercourse, or both, as risk factors are different.
- Your doctor will perform a physical assessment to determine abnormalities in the affected areas. Inform the doctor if you feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure.
Seek treatment.Once you've been diagnosed with HPV-related genital warts, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Genital warts are treated with medication and can also be removed surgically.
- Over-the-counter creams like salicylic acid can be effective in treating genital warts. Your doctor may prescribe certain creams to enhance your immune system to fight off the warts.
- Your doctor can also remove a wart surgically or freeze it off using liquid nitrogen. Laser surgery can also be used to remove warts.
- Your doctor may also prescribe you an immune response modifier, such as Aldara (Imiqouid) cream. While this won't cure your genial warts, it is very affective in making cosmetic improvements.
Assessing Your Risk
Learn how the HPV virus is contracted.The HPV virus can be acquired through direct contact with infected skin cells. It enters the outer skin layer through any break in the skin, such as a cut or wound. Genital HPV is usually contracted during sexual contact.
Familiarize yourself with risk factors.Certain behaviors and pre-existing conditions increase your risk for contracting HPV. Knowing if you're at an increased risk can help you diagnose HPV warts.
- Having multiple sex partners and engaging in risky sexual behavior, such as unprotected sex, can increase your risk for developing HPV.
- If your skin is damaged, you're more likely to contract HPV during sex. If you've had sex with someone with genital warts, this also increases your risk.
- People with immunodeficiencies, such as people with AIDS or cancer, are also more at risk of developing this condition.
Take action to prevent HPV.Always engage in safer sex. Use condoms and ask your partner about his or her sexual history. You cannot entirely eliminate the risk of acquiring HPV through condom use, but it does cut down transmission rates.
QuestionIs it possible to contract warts and still have them years later?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. HPV causes warts that can last weeks, months, or even years before clearing up.Thanks!
QuestionI get these boil like things on my private area and the doctor goes in and cleans them out. Could that be HPV?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBoil like things could be actual boils that come when your immunity is low. They can also come as a result of poor hygienic practices. These are treated and they heal. HPV can only be confirmed by a positive blood test done and confirmed by a trained medical practitioner.Thanks!
QuestionAre warts lifelong like herpes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. The virus that causes genital warts can take up to two years to clear itself from your system. The warts caused by it may or may not appear.Thanks!
QuestionIs itching all over a sign of HPV?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, only the area affected should itch. That is, however, a symptom of HIV.Thanks!
Can I get hpv even if I don't have sex?
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