HPV infection in men
What kinds of problems does HPV cause in men?
Most of the men infected by HPV are free of complaints and symptoms. Certain types of HPV may cause genital warts. Other types may cause penile cancer, or anal cancer. The types that cause genital warts and the types that cause penis and anal cancer are different.
What is the incidence of problems caused by HPV in men?
1% of sexually active men have genital warts. Penile cancer is a rare disease. The incidence is 0.1-0.9 out of 100.000 people in Europe. Anal cancer is not a common disease either especially in men with healthy immune system.
What are the signs and symptoms of HPV in men?
When symptoms appear in men they complain of the following problems:
- A single or multiple warts on the penis, scrotum, mount pubis, perineum or in the folds of the groin
- The wart may be prominent, flat or cauliflower-like. They are usually not painful.
- Warts appear in weeks or months following a sexual intercourse with an infected person.
- Sometimes it has no signs or symptoms.
- Bleeding, pain, pruritus or discharge may occur in the rectum.
- Swollen lymph nodes may appear around the rectum or in the groin.
- A change in bowel habits or in stool form may be observed.
- Early symptoms: change in color, thickening of the skin, appearing growth on the penis.
- late symptoms: wound, ulcer, tumor on the penis. it is usually painless, but the wound may be sensitive or may bleed.
How get men infected with HPV?
HPV is transmitted sexually usually during vaginal or anal intercourse. Since HPV infection is often asymptomatic most of the men and women gets infected and pass it without even noticing it. It is not important to know whether or not we are infected with HPV but to know whether or not we have any diseases caused by HPV.
Is there an HPV test, a screening method for men?
There is a laboratory examination in Hungary that detects the presence of HPV in men too. However HPV infection is very common and doesn’t cause any health problem in most of the men. So essentially we have to find out whether or not we have any disease caused by HPV and not that we have an HPV infection.
Can genital warts be detected with any examination?
Warts are generally easily recognized. Invisible warts can be identified by applying acetic acid, but it is not an absolutely reliable method. (It must be performed by a physician!)
Is there any examination that can detect the cancer developing because of the HPV infection in men?
Cancer can be recognized in early stages during screenings. Changes on the skin of the penis, scrotum or anus may be observed by self-examination. Consult with a specialist (dermatologist, urologist), if you find any blister, wart, lesion, ulcer, spot or any other change in this region. You should do that even if it painless!
Can HPV infection be cured?
There is no cure for HPV infection but the problems caused by the HPV infection can be treated.
Warts can be treated with paint, freezing, cauterization, laser, local immune response modifier, surgical intervention that can be supplemented with medications that boost the immune system. There are a lot of methods applicable; some of them can be used by the patient while others must be performed by a physician. None of these methods is better than others and warts may reoccur in many cases. The treatment has to be repeated or another method may be applied. Warts may multiple, grow, remain unchanged or even disappear without a treatment.
The penile and anal cancer can be treated with surgical intervention, radiotherapy, cytostatics or with their combination.
Is HPV vaccine effective in me?
HPV vaccine was developed to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts. Currently the vaccine is recommended for 9-26 year old girls and women. 9-15 year old boys may be vaccinated too.
What effect has my partner’s HPV infection on me?
You may be infected too in this case especially when you have been together for a longer period. The majority of sexually active adults get infected with HPV during their lifetime. HPV infection rarely causes any disease in adult with a healthy immune system. Perform self-examination regularly!
If you have a new partner the use of condoms can decrease the risk of HPV infection and HPV related diseases.
Your partner may have been a carrier of HPV for years. There is no way to tell whether you infected him/her or she/he infected you. HPV infection is not a sign showing that any of you has “misstepped”.