What is HPV?
HPV is most commonly spread via vaginal or anal sex. HPV can affect anyone who is sexually active, even if you have only one partner. Symptoms can develop years after sex with an infected partner.
Approximately 80% of females will contract HPV at some point in their life.
Signs of HPV
HPV can cause the following types of cancer in women:
Signs of cervical cancer include:
Some people with vulvar cancer may have no symptoms, depending on the type. Those who do have symptoms may experience:
- Changes to the skin
- Spotting (light vaginal bleeding between periods)
- Sores that will not go away
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
Signs of anal cancer include:
Signs of throat cancer include:
Types of HPV
HPV strains are identified by number. Types 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts cases. Twelve strains can cause cancer, but strains 16 and 18 cause the most cases.
Causes of HPV
HPV is only caused by sexual contact with someone who has the virus. It is contagious even if you don’t have any symptoms.
To lower your risk of getting HPV, you can use safer sex barriers like condoms during sex. However, be aware that HPV can spread through skin contact, and condoms don't cover 100% of the areas that may touch during sex. Another way to lower your risk of getting HPV is to be in a mutually monogamous relationship.
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Diagnosis/Tests for HPV
If you are between ages 21 and 29, you should get a Pap smear every three years. People over age 30 should get one every three years, or an HPV test every five years. Women over age 30 can also choose to get a pap smear plus an HPV test every five yearsy.Doctors diagnose genital warts by examining them visually.
Treatments for HPV
Most cases of HPV resolve on their own with no symptoms present and no treatment needed.
Genital warts often require no treatment and may go away on their own. If they persist or they bother you, a doctor can remove them surgically or freeze them off. Topical prescription medications may make warts go away faster.
If doctors discover pre-cancerous cells in a Pap smear, they may have you wait six months and then get another test to see whether the cells are still abnormal. Doctors may also perform a colposcopy — a procedure where they look more closely at your cervix to diagnose you. If the abnormal cells are severe enough, doctors will do a procedure to remove them before they turn into cancer.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Cancer Society: "Signs and Symptoms of Penile Cancer."
American Cancer Society: "Signs and Symptoms of Vulvar Cancers and Pre-Cancers."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet."
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: "Anal Cancer."
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "My Pap Test Was Abnormal: Now What?"
MedlinePlus: "Genital Warts."
MedlinePlus: "Throat Cancer."
National Health Service: "Genital warts."
NYU Langone Health: "Types of Human Papillomavirus."
Office on Women’s Health: "Human papillomavirus."
Office on Women's Health: "Pap and HPV tests."
The New Zealand HPV Project: "Strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)."
Top What Causes HPV in Females Related Articles
Can a Woman Give a Man HPV?Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a type of virus that is different from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and herpes virus (HSV). It is the most common cause of sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. Yes, human papillomavirus (HPV) can be transmitted from a woman to man and vice versa.
Can You Get HPV If You Are Not Sexually Active?The human papillomavirus is transferred from person to person by skin-to-skin intimate contact with someone who has the infection. Transmission of HPV without sex, though uncommon, does happen.
Can You Get Rid of HPV Once You Have It?Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a type of virus that is different from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and herpes virus (HSV). It is the most common cause of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. In most cases, human papillomavirus (HPV) infections can go away on their own.
Can You Still Be Sexually Active With HPV?Like other STIs, HPV is spread through skin-to-skin sexual contact during oral, anal and vaginal sex. It's possible to have sex even if you have HPV or you're concerned about getting it, but get vaccinated, practice safe sex, get tested regularly, and talk to your partners about it.
HPV TestThe Cervista HPV test (human papillomavirus infection test in women) is a screening test used with other tests such as Pap smear and colposcopy for screening the two HPV types most likely to cause cancer, and to identify all "high-risk" HPV types. Cervista HPV test is not recommended for routine screening or for women under the age of 30.
Do Condoms Really Protect Against HIV?Condoms are probably the most effective means for preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as long as they are used correctly during sex.
Gardasil HPV VaccineGardasil is the first vaccine available on the market to prevent cervical cancer, genital warts, and precancerous genital lesions due to HPV. The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for girls 11 and 12 years of age. Girls as young as nine may begin the vaccine. The vaccine is also recommended for females between the ages of 13 through 26 who have not been previously vaccinated.
Gardasil (HPV Vaccine)Gardasil HPV Vaccine (Recombinant Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine) is a vaccine synthesized using recombinant technology. Gardasil is a single dose injection. Gardasil is for the prevention of HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18 infections in girls and women aged 9 to 26 years. Gardasil also approved for preventing genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11 in males aged 9 to 26 years. Gardasil protects against cervical cancer, abnormal or precancerous cervical, vaginal, or vulvar lesions, and genital warts. Side effects of Gardasil include fever, vomiting, nausea, fainting, dizziness, pain, swelling, itching, or redness at the site of injection.
Genital Warts (HPV) Infection in Women
Genital warts is a sexually transmitted infection (STI, STD) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is the most common STD in the US. The warts can appear anywhere on the skin where sexual contact has occurred.
The warts look like raised, flesh-colored lumps or bumps that have a cauliflower-like appearance. Signs and symptoms of genital warts in women include vaginal, vulva, or groin pain, itching, and burning where the wart(s) is.
Treatment can remove warts or lesions, but it does not prevent spread of the virus, and the warts usually grow back. Removing genital warts does not prevent the infection from spreading elsewhere on the body.
There is no cure for genital warts, and there is no vaccine to prevent them; however, there is a vaccine to prevent infection from four common types of HPV. Gardasil vaccine available for female adolescents and teens to prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer.
Can I Get HIV From Casual Contact Like Hugging or Touching?Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cannot spread through casual contact such as hugging or touching. HIV does not spread through urine, saliva, tears, sweat, kissing (closed mouth or social kissing), shaking hands, sharing utensils, sharing food or drinks, sharing clothes, or from toilet seats. HIV is spread through bodily fluids from a person with HIV.
How Does a Man Know if He Has HPV?What is HPV, and what does it look like in men? Learn how to recognize HPV, when to see your doctor for HPV, and how to prevent and treat HPV in men.
HPV (Human Papillomavirus) InfectionHPVs or human papillomaviruses are a group of viral infections of the skin and mucous membranes. Certain high-risk types of HPV infection cause certain cancers (cervical, penile, anal, vaginal, and oral). There are no signs or symptoms of HPV infection. HPV infection is an extremely common STD and is highly contagious. People are at higher risk of getting HPV infection if they have multiple sex partners, a weakened immune system, or breaks in the skin. HPV vaccinations prevent HPV infection. Treatment for HPV infection is antiviral medication. There is no cure for HPV infection.
What Causes Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV)?Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection that is transmitted through sexual activity. People can get an HPV infection by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone infected with the virus. HPV infections often resolve without treatment and do not cause any health problems. A persistent HPV infection though may lead to warts, cancer of the mouth and throat, and cervical cancer.
What Does the HPV Vaccine Prevent?There are several vaccines that prevent infection with HPV. They also protect against other cancers that HPV causes including cancer of the vagina, vulva, penis, throat, and anus.