HPV Infection - Symptoms and Causes (2023)

General description

HPV infection is a viral infection that usually causes growths on the skin or mucous membranes (warts). There are over 100 strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). some types ofHPVThe infection causes warts and some can cause different types of cancer.

MoreHPVinfections do not lead to cancer. But some types of genitaliaHPVIt can cause cancer in the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina (cervix). Other cancers, including cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, vulva, and back of the throat (oropharyngeal), have been associated withHPVinfection.

These infections are often transmitted sexually or through other skin-to-skin contact. Vaccines can help protect against strains ofHPVmore likely to cause genital warts or cervical cancer.


common warts

HPV Infection - Symptoms and Causes (1)

common warts

Common warts can grow on your hands or fingers. They are small, grainy bumps that are rough to the touch.

plantar warts

HPV Infection - Symptoms and Causes (2)

plantar warts

Plantar warts are caused by the same type of virus that causes hand and finger warts. But, due to their location, they can be painful.

flat warts

HPV Infection - Symptoms and Causes (3)

flat warts

Flat warts are smaller and smoother than other warts. They usually occur on the face or legs and are more common in children and adolescents than adults.

female genital warts

HPV Infection - Symptoms and Causes (4)

female genital warts

Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted infection. They can appear on Organs genitals, in the pubic area or in the anal canal. In women, genital warts can also grow inside the vagina.

male genital warts

HPV Infection - Symptoms and Causes (5)

male genital warts

Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted infection. They can appear on Organs genitals, in the pubic area or in the anal canal.

In most cases, your body's immune system overcomes aHPVinfection before warts develop. When warts appear, their appearance varies depending on the type ofHPVIt is involved:

  • Genital warts.They appear as flat lesions, small cauliflower-shaped bumps, or small, stalk-like bumps. In women, genital warts mostly appear on the vulva, but they can also occur near the anus, on the cervix or in the vagina.

    In men, genital warts appear on the penis and scrotum or around the anus. Genital warts rarely cause discomfort or pain, although they may itch or hurt.

  • Common warts.Common warts appear as rough, raised bumps and usually occur on the hands and fingers. In most cases, common warts are simply unsightly, but they can also be painful or susceptible to bruising or bleeding.
  • Plantar warts.Plantar warts are hard, grainy growths that usually appear on the heels or balls of the feet. These warts can cause discomfort.
  • Flat warts.Flat warts are lesions that are flat on top and are slightly raised. They can appear anywhere, but boys tend to have them on the face and men tend to have them in the beard area. Women tend to have them on their legs.

cervical cancer

Almost all cervical cancers are caused byHPVinfections, but cervical cancer can take 20 years or more to develop after aHPVinfection. HimHPVinfection and early cervical cancer usually do not cause noticeable symptoms. be vaccinated againstHPVinfection is your best protection against cervical cancer.

As early cervical cancer does not cause symptoms, it is vital that women have regular screening tests to detect any precancerous changes in the cervix that could lead to cancer. Current guidelines recommend that women ages 21 to 29 get a Pap smear every three years.

It is recommended that women ages 30 to 65 continue to have a Pap smear every three years, or every five years if they also do so.HPVDNA test at the same time. Women over 65 can discontinue testing if they have had three normal Pap smears in a row, or twoHPVDNA tests and Pap smears with no abnormal results.

When to see a doctor

If you or your child have warts of any kind that cause embarrassment, discomfort, or pain, consult your doctor.

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HPVInfection occurs when the virus enters the body, usually through a cut, abrasion, or small tear in the skin. The virus is transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact.

GenitalHPVInfections are contracted through sexual intercourse, anal sex and other skin-to-skin contact in the genital area. SomeHPVinfections that result in oral or upper respiratory tract lesions are contracted through oral sex.

If you are pregnant and have aHPVinfection with genital warts, it is possible that your baby will get the infection. Rarely, the infection can cause a noncancerous growth in the baby's larynx.

Warts are contagious. They can spread through direct contact with a wart. Warts can also spread when someone touches something that has already touched a wart.

Risk factors

HPVinfections are common. Risk factors forHPVinfection include:

  • Number of sexual partners.The more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to have a genital problem.HPVinfection. Having sex with a partner who has had multiple sexual partners also increases the risk.
  • Years.Common warts mostly occur in children. Genital warts occur most often in teenagers and young adults.
  • Weakened immune systems.People with weakened immune systems are at greater risk ofHPVinfections Immune systems can be weakened by HIV/AIDS or immunosuppressant drugs used after organ transplants.
  • damaged skinAreas of skin that have been pierced or cut open are more likely to develop common warts.
  • Personal contact.Touching someone's warts or not using protection before touching surfaces that have been exposed toHPV- such as public showers or swimming pools - may increase the risk ofHPVinfection.


  • Oral and upper respiratory lesions.SomeHPVInfections cause lesions on the tongue, tonsils, soft palate, or inside the larynx and nose.
  • Cancer.certain strains ofHPVcan cause cervical cancer. These strains can also contribute to cancer of Organs genitals, anus, mouth, and upper respiratory tract.


common warts

it's hard to preventHPVInfections that cause common warts. If you have a common wart, you can prevent the infection from spreading and new warts forming by not picking at the wart or biting your nails.

plantar warts

To reduce the risk of gettingHPVinfections that cause plantar warts, wearing shoes or sandals in public pools and changing rooms.

genital warts

You can reduce your risk of developing genital and other wartsHPV- Genital injuries related to:

  • Being in a mutually monogamous sexual relationship
  • Reduce the number of sexual partners
  • Using a latex condom, which can reduce the risk ofHPVstreaming

HPV vaccines

Gardasil 9 is aHPVvaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and can be used for men and women to protect against cervical cancer and genital warts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendsHPVVaccination for girls and boys aged 11 and 12, although it can be given from 9 years. Ideally, girls and boys receive the vaccine before they have sexual contact and are exposed toHPV. Research has shown that receiving the vaccine at a young age is not associated with early onset of sexual activity.

Once someone is infected withHPV, the vaccine may not work as well or may not work at all. Also, vaccine response is better at younger ages than at older ages. But if given before someone becomes infected, the vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer.

HimCenters for Disease Control and Preventionrecommends that all children ages 11 and 12 receive two doses ofHPVvaccine at least six months apart. Younger 9- and 10-year-olds and 13- and 14-year-olds can also receive the vaccine in the updated two-dose schedule. Research has shown that the two-dose regimen is effective for children under 15 years of age.

Adolescents and young adults who start the vaccine series later, between 15 and 26 years old, should continue to receive three doses of the vaccine.

HimCenters for Disease Control and Preventionrecommended to catch upHPVvaccines for all persons up to age 26 who are not adequately vaccinated.

The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved Gardasil 9 for use in men and women ages 9 to 45. If you are between the ages of 27 and 45, talk to your doctor if he or she recommends you take theHPVvaccine.

More information

  • HPV vaccine

By the staff at the Mayo Clinic

October 12, 2021

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