Oral HPV- Do You Know Clearly About It?

Oral HPV- Do You Know Clearly About It?

HPV (Human papillomavirus) is one of the most common STDs in the United States. It spreads through skin contact during sex. Most sexually active people will contract it at some point in their lifetime. They usually get HPV in their genitals that can be spread to the mouth or throat by unprotected oral sex. This’s also known as oral HPV. Do you understand clearly about oral HPV? Or do you know that it’s linked to oropharyngeal cancer? Keep reading the article to get more beneficial information.

What can put you at risk of oral HPV?

HPV is a contagious disease. Therefore, all sexually active people always have an equal chance of contracting the virus. Besides, there’re several other factors putting you at risk of oral HPV.

  • Multiple partners. The more sexual partners you have, the higher your risk with HPV. According to the Cleveland Clinic, your chance of getting oral HPV will be up to 20 percent if you have more than 20 sexual partners in your lifetime.
  • Oral sex. Unprotected oral sex is the main risk of catching oral HPV, especially if you smoke.
  • Smoking. The bad routine helps promote HPV attack. Inhaling smoke makes you more vulnerable to tears and cuts in the mouth. It also increases your danger of oral cancer.
  • Too much alcohol. Many researches have indicated that excessive alcohol gives you more chance of HPV infections. If you smoke and drink, the risk will be higher.
  • Being men. Male are more susceptible to oral HPV than male.
  • Open mouth kissing. The virus can be passed from mouth to mouth, but more research is necessary to identify if this develops your risk for oral HPV.
  • Weakened immune system. People who have weakened immune system are difficult fight off the virus.
Oral sex increases your risk of contracting oral HPV

Oral sex increases your risk of contracting oral HPV

These factors may put you at danger of getting oral HPV. The test for it, however, isn’t available. Your doctor can detect lesions through a cancer screening. Or if you have lesions, your doctor will do a biopsy to identify whether they’re cancerous.

Related: HPV Tests for Women and Men

Is there any specific symptoms of oral HPV?

Most people with oral HPV have no symptoms. So, they don’t realize that they’ve been infected and are less likely to take precautions to limit the spread of the disease. Though people with oral HPV can show up warts in the mouth and throat, this’s less common.

However, the high risk of HPV can turn into oropharyngeal cancer. The cancer cells can develop from oral HPV and form in the middle of the throat, including the pharynx walls, tonsils and tongue. You should notice the cancer if suffering from these symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Difficult swallowing
  • A white or red patch on the tonsils
  • Persistent earaches
  • Coughing up blood
  • Lumps on the cheeks
  • Growths on the neck
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Voice changes that doesn’t go away
  • Numbness of the tongue

These signs don’t always mean that you’ve cancer. But if you experience some of them that are constant for longer than 2 weeks, you should see your doctor.

Related: How Oral Sex Can Cause You Cancer

Oral HPV shows up warts in the mouth

Oral HPV shows up warts in the mouth

How’s oral HPV treated?

Oral HPV usually goes away before they cause health issues in some people with strong immune system. Topical creams are available for treating HPV, such as:

  • Imiquimod (Aldara)
  • Podofilox
  • Trichloroacetic acid
  • Vidarox

These are effective in relieving symptoms of genital warts and prevent the virus from coming back. But, treating oral HPV with topical cream can be difficult because the warts are hard to reach. Instead, your doctor may use other methods to treat the warts, including:

  • Cryotherapy to freeze the warts
  • Surgical removal
  • Interferon alfa- 2B

Related: What You Should Do During Cervical Cancer Treatment

Cryotherapy  can be used to treat oral HPV

Cryotherapy can be used to treat oral HPV

What happens if you develop cancer from HPV?

Oropharyngeal cancer that is positive with HPV has better results and fewer relapses after treatment than one with negative result. If you develop the cancer from oral HPV, should receive treatment as soon as possible. Your treatment will depend on the stage and location of your cancer. It typically includes:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • All of the these

If left untreated, the tumor can spread throughout the tongue and to the floor of the mouth, the throat and the gums. Because a tumor develops, it may spread to the lymph nodes in the neck and other parts of the body.

Related: What Will Happen if HPV Goes Untreated

Treatment for oropharyngeal cancer

Treatment for oropharyngeal cancer

Can oral HPV be preventable?

It’s definitely “yes”. Oral HPV can be preventable by lifestyle changes. You can protect yourself from getting the infection by the following tips:

  • Have a safe sex life. Using protective methods, such as condoms or dental damps every time you have sex. 
  • Talk to your partner about sex. Asking them for STIs test before performing sex.
  • Limit number of sexual partners.
  • Be in monogamous relationship.
  • Ask your dentist if your mouth has abnormal thing when checking at the dentist.
  • Get vaccinated. HPV vaccines are available for preventing HPV. These vaccines aren’t 100% effective in fighting off all HPV strains. But, they protect from some HPV strains causing cancers genital warts.
  • Stop smoking and alcohol.

Oral HPV is a contagious disease that can be spread through skin contacts during sex. It also increases your risk of oropharyngeal cancer if you contract with high risk HPV. Because most of oral HPV don’t show up symptoms, you can’t realize you’re infected. However, if you notice abnormal symptoms after oral sex that last longer than 2 week, should see your doctor to check. It’s also important to raise your awareness of protecting yourself against the disease.




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