HPV is short for Human Papilloma Virus. It is a group of about 150 different viruses, which are somewhat related to each other. There are several symptoms of the virus, and these symptoms are dependent on the exact kind of virus that one has. In a lifetime, most people will have one or more of the HPV which can sometimes come and go without being noticed.
One common symptom shared by a large number of people with HPV is the appearance of skin warts. Skin warts can be found on any part of the body, but it is mostly found on the hands and feet. Some HPV types can cause a condition known as Dysplasia which may develop into cancer. Other types of the HPV (a lesser percentage) can affect the nose, mouth, throat, vagina and anus. Note that, sometimes, these symptoms are temporary, and in some cases, there are no symptoms at all. The infection just comes and disappears naturally.
Types of Skin Warts
Since the virus permeates the skin through cuts and openings, there is a high possibility that skin warts will develop on the skin of a patient. Luckily, these warts are mostly harmless. Here are some common types of skin warts;
- Common Warts: These warts can be seen in areas like the back of the hand and around fingernails. They often have black spots in them, and this spot is an indication of blood vessels that have been infiltrated with the dead skin from warts. When you touch them, they might feel like rough bumps and can be mistaken for a skin reaction.
- Plantar Warts: These warts are usually seen on the soles of the feet. They are usually hard when felt, and can make walking painful and uncomfortable. Sometimes, their growth is inward and sometimes in clusters.
- Flat Warts: These warts are small and feel a bit smoother than the other types. Usually, they are found on the face, legs and beard region (for men).
- Filiform Warts: Their appearance is like a projection of long threads. They are usually found on the face, and the growth rate is very fast.
- Periungual Warts: Like common warts, this type is usually found around the finger and toenails, sometimes growing inside the fingernails. The appearance is very thick and can be inflamed or tender. Mostly, people who bite their nails frequently experience this type. This type of skin wart is very difficult to treat and has a high chance of reoccurrence.
Are Genital Warts only found in Genitals?
No. In actuality, genital warts can also be found in the mouth, nose, throat and eyelids. The types of HPV that cause skin warts are different from the types of HPV that can cause genital warts. In most cases, the genital warts are transmitted during sexual contact.
Genital warts can be found inside the vagina and around the vulva, on the penis and scrotum, inside and around the anus, around the groin area, and on the upper thighs.
Appearance-wise, they can be; flesh-coloured or a bit lighter than the flesh, in groups, either flat or raised, and soft to touch. They can also cause a lot of pain, discomfort and itching.
Complications That Can Accompany the HPV
Some complications can arise when an individual has HPV, especially if it is not treated. For instance, in men, there can be an abnormal flow of urine if warts are found in the urethra. In women, abnormal vaginal discharge, anal and vaginal bleeding, can follow. The HPV types that cause genital warts are usually not potential cancer carriers.
Some HPV infections can result in a lot of changes in the cells of an individual. These changes can eventually lead to cancer. Some of the possible types of high-risk cancer an HPV patient can face include;
- Anal cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Cancer at the back of the throat.
- Cervical cancer
- Vulva cancer.
No screening tests can be done to detect the presence of almost all the above-listed cancer types. It is therefore essential for one to be very sensitive to changes in appearance and skin tone, unusual lumps, pain and bleeding. This way, there can be early detection of cancer, hence, its prevention. However, for cervical cancer, there is a screening test called the Pap test and also the HPV test,which can detect early stages of this cancer, helping in its prevention.
The Diagnosis Process
At walk in sexual health clinic in London, doctor can diagnose skin and genital wart just by a physical examination. However, for confirmation, the doctor might need to carry out a biopsy, which involves the extraction of skin sample to be examined under a microscope to be sure of your condition.
For a female with possible genital warts, a colposcopy can be done to trace genital warts in the cervix that are far too tiny to be seen with the ordinary eyes.
If your HPV test comes out positive, then your doctor should give you detailed advice on what to do to prevent cervical cancer. Generally, the first step after a positive HPV test is colposcopy in cases where HPV types 16 and 18 are found.
To diagnose other kinds of cancers that are not cervical cancer, a biopsy needs to be done. A sample of the skin from the detected abnormal area is examined under a microscope.
If you are having any of the symptoms above or will like to meet a medical professional as regards diagnosis and treatment of HPV, contact us on 020 71830649 today.