What Will Happen if HPV Goes Untreated

What Will Happen if HPV Goes Untreated

HPV, short for human papillomavirus, is a common sexually transmitted infection. It’s estimated that 80% of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lifetime. You can get HPV by having direct skin contact with someone who has the virus. It is most contagious during sexual intercourse such as oral, vaginal and anal sex. HPV can be transmitted even when a patient develops no sign and symptom. That’s why many people spread the virus to others without knowing it. HPV can go away on its own, but sometimes it can cause warts or cancers. In cases like this, you have to get it treated immediately. If HPV goes untreated, many serious complications may occur.

HPV and skin warts

The virus that causes HPV infections has more than 100 different types. However, only a few types of HPV can cause skin warts to the sufferers.

Skin warts look like rough, skin-colored or whitish bumps that appear on the skin. Also, they may have seed-like black dots on the bumps.

Skin warts can grow anywhere on the human body. But, when they grow on the fingers, nails, hands and feet, people call them common warts.

Foot warts or plantar warts are those which grow on the soles of the feet, on the heel and toes. Sometimes, they grow in a cluster and people call them mosaic warts.

Flat warts are more different than other kind of skin warts. They look smaller, smoother and especially have round shape and flesh color. Flat warts can grow in a group of 20 to 100 warts. Usually, they occur on the legs in women, the beard area in men and the face in children.

Filiform warts, also called facial warts, often appear on the face near the eyes, nose and lips. This kind of skin warts can grow very quickly and resemble thin long threads.

Also, there are periungual warts that grow in clusters around the nails. They look like cauliflowers and can be tender, inflamed or fissured.

Related: 8 Types of Warts That Everyone Should Know

HPV and skin warts

HPV and genital warts

Unlike other kind of warts, genital warts are much more dangerous. They are the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Study shows that about 40 identified types of HPV may affect the genital areas. Among these, HPV types 6 and 11 could be to blame for 90 percent of genital warts.

Genital warts are painless and especially too small to see. But depending on their location and sizes, they may be bothersome and itching. Other symptoms of genital warts include:

  • Soft
  • Raised or flat
  • Resemble cauliflower
  • Grouped in clusters

In women, genital warts can grow inside the vagina, around the vulva and on the cervix. They may also occur in the labia minora and vaginal opening. With genital warts, women sometimes experience noticeable symptoms. These include itching, vaginal discharge and bleeding with intercourse.

In men, genital warts can appear on the scrotum, penis, urethra, and rectal area.

Both men and women may have genital warts on the following places.

  • In the groin area
  • On the upper thighs
  • Inside or around the anus

Related: 7 Myths and Facts about HPV

HPV and genital warts

HPV complications

If HPV goes untreated or you don’t treat genital warts, serious complications will occur and cause death.

In men, untreated genital warts in the urethra can cause abnormal urine flow. In some cases, this may lead to bleeding from the urethra and anus. In women, this can increase vaginal discharge and cause bleeding from vagina.

High-risk HPV types can increase your chance of HPV-related cancers. For example, HPV type 16 can be responsible for most cervical cancers. Other types of HPV that can cause cancers are HPV- 18, 33, 39, 51, 31, 35, 52 and more. And some cancers are linked to HPV may include:

  • Throat cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Anal cancer
  • Vulva cancer
  • Penile cancer

HPV complications during pregnancy and birth may also happen if left untreated. For example, it causes cervical cell changes that may progress into cervical cancer. Leaving genital warts untreated during pregnancy causes them to bleed and multiply. If genital warts go untreated, they can affect the birth canal. Then, a woman who has pregnancy may need to have a cesarean section.

It’s quite rare to pass HPV on to a baby. But, it can potentially affect a baby’s growth and cause serious conditions. Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis is an example.

Related: HPV Is Linked to Cancers

HPV affects pregnancy and birth

HPV can develop further complications if left untreated. The only way to avoid these is to get it treated immediately. To do this, you can contact your GP for wart removal treatment. You can also use a topical antiviral cream like Vidarox to treat genital warts. This FDA-approved solution has been known to reduce the severity of genital warts. Plus, it can inactivate the virus and prevent genital wart recurrences. To avoid HPV complications, your GP may recommend some steps below:

  • Get your warts removed
  • Have regular visits to your GP and doctor
  • Have a Pap smear test
  • Avoid bad habits
  • Have lifestyle changes
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Practice safe sex


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