What Causes Human Papillomavirus?

Warts are the causes of an HPV infection. There exist more than 100 types of HPV or human Papillomavirus. Warts on the various parts of your body are from the different kinds of HPV infection. Some varieties of HPV infection causes warts that commonly affect the neck and face while some types are responsible for warts on the feet which are commonly called plantar warts. The genital area is affected by more than 40 various types of HPV infection.

Cancer is not caused by most HPV infections. However, there are some strains of HPV in the genitals that can cause cervical cancer. The cervix is the passageway between the uterus and the vagina. The HPV vaccine will be able to protect and help stop the development of cervical cancer or genital warts that are caused by some types of genital HPV.

Most of the time the immune system of the body fights off an HPV infection before it can develop any warts. If warts make an appearance they may differ in shapes and sizes, depending on what type of HPV:

  • Flat Warts. They are a darker shade than your skin color and are lesions that are slightly raised and flat on the top. Normally scratched areas like the neck and face are their natural habitat. Flat warts that are caused by an HPV infection affect young adults, children, and adolescents.
  • Genital warts. They may be small with protrusions that are stem-like or bumps that are shaped like a cauliflower or lesions that are flat shaped. Genital warts in women are commonly found on the vulva but may also appear in the vagina, near the anus or on the cervix. Genital warts in men can be found around the anus, penis, and scrotum. They may cause itchiness but hardly ever cause pain or discomfort.
  • Plantar warts. They are grainy in texture that is hard to touch which are usually found on hard pressure areas such as the balls or heels of the feet. Their growth may be uncomfortable and painful.
  • Common warts. They are raised bumps that are rough in texture which are usually found on the elbows, hands or fingers. They may cause pain as they bleed and injure easily. Most of the time their appearance is a nuisance.

There are only two specific strains of genital HPV that are the cause of most cervical cancers. Warts are not caused by these two HPV types which are the reason women are usually unaware that they are infected with it. There are also no signs and symptoms for the early phases of cervical cancer.

It is very important that women get Pap tests regularly. Pap tests can detect changes in the cervix that may develop to cancer. It is recommended that women, ages from 21 to 29 get a Pap test every three years, while women, from ages 30 to 65 every five years which has to be accompanied with DNA HPV tests at the same time.