The human papilloma virus, commonly known as HPV, is a type of virus that attacks the mucus membrane in the human body. The term papilloma is biological and it is used to describe a variety of growths including lesions and warts. In males, HPV can be found in the penile and anal regions, having affected the mucosal membrane and soft tissue found in these areas. Here is a detailed look into the causes and symptoms of HPV in men. Read on.
- Genital Warts. HPV often depicts no symptoms and many people pass it on to their partners unknowingly. However, this ailment manifests itself as non-painful growths which look like bumps or swellings with a cauliflower-like appearance, usually around the genitals (anus, scrotum and penis). These growths are known as warts and they don’t appear immediately after infection; their onset is between a few weeks probably three and several months after contracting the infection.
- Itching and Irritation. As aforementioned, the human papilloma virus attacks the soft tissue and mucous membranes in the human body. It invades these body elements and mutate in order to form other viral offshoots, igniting a cycle of infection. Once the epidermal layer of the skin is infected, the tissue membrane forms lesions which become inflamed and irritated. This inflammation can cause unbearable itching and irritation in the infected regions.
- Bleeding. The presence of inflamed lesions and irritations caused by the viral infection manifests itself as skin abrasions. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when the abrasions are disturbed by sudden contact, the tissue covering them is removed and this can lead to bleeding. This is a common symptom depicted by anal genital warts primarily because of passing discharge.
If the condition remains unattended to, it can lead to the development of anal or penile cancer. The skin of the penis thickens then changes in color in the case of penile cancer. Anal cancer on the other hand, can lead to abnormal discharge especially the shape of the stool. Other symptoms include;
- Swollen lymph nodes in the anal and groin areas
- Bowel changes
- Sore penis
Causes of HPV in Men
The chief cause of HPV is direct skin-to-sin contact. This often happens during intercourse when the genitals get into contact; often during anal or vaginal sex. The human papilloma virus is a very active and contagious virus, and for that reason, it usually enters into the body through the microscopic abrasions that often develop in the genital region during intercourse. Other than anal and vaginal sex, HPV can also be spread through oral sex though this is uncommon.
Coming into direct contact with the affected skin can also cause HPV. As such, it’s possible to acquire HPV through non-penetrative sex. This is the primary reason why putting on a condom cannot completely protect you from contracting HPV. Additionally, the fact that men have a weaker immune system than women makes them more susceptible to the infection.
Experts consider early detection as the best and most effective way to prevent the spread of HPV. Any lesions or abnormal growths around the genitals should be taken seriously and the expertise of a medical practitioner should be sought so as to determine the severity of the infection.