HPV

HPV Specialists
HPV is a skin condition that could cause certain cancers. If you are in Oakland or Alameda, California, or the surrounding areas and there are questions about HPV, East Bay Women’s Health can help.

HPV Q & A

What is HPV?

HPV is an infection causing mucous membrane growths, also known as warts, to develop on the skin. Certain types of the HPV infection can cause cervical cancers. There are more than 100 varieties of HPV and these can all cause warts to develop on different parts of the body including the feet, genitals, face, or neck. Some types of genital HPV can cause cancer of the lower part of the uterus.

What are the symptoms?

Often, the body's immune system defeats an HPV infection before it can create warts or changes to the cervix. When changes do appear, they vary depending on which variety of HPV is involved. Symptoms can include:

  • Genital warts - These appear as flat lesions, small cauliflower-like bumps, or tiny stem-like protrusions. Genital warts rarely cause discomfort or pain, though they may itch.
  • Common warts - Rough, raised bumps and usually occur on the hands, fingers, or elbows.
  • Plantar warts - Hard, grainy growths that usually appear on the heels or balls of the feet.
  • Flat warts - Flat warts are flat-topped, slightly raised lesions darker than the skin.

What causes HPV?

The HPV infection usually occurs as the result of a cut or abrasion on the skin where the virus can enter. The virus itself is transferred primarily by skin-to-skin contact. HPV infections in the genitals are contracted through sexual intercourse, anal sex, and other skin-to-skin contact in the genital region. Some HPV infections that result in oral or upper respiratory lesions are contracted through oral sex. Diagnosis can sometimes be made by looking at the warts themselves. If genital warts aren't visible, tests such as Pap test or DNA test will be able to determine the degree of HPV. Most HPV infections go away by themselves and don't cause cancer. But abnormal cells can develop when high-risk types of HPV don't go away.

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