Genital Warts in Men. What exactly are they?

Genital warts in men are the most common sexually transmitted disease. It is a viral infection that can be transmitted from person to person through anal, vaginal or oral sex, or through other intimate skin-to-skin contacts during sexual activity. If you are sexually active, you are likely to be infected by HPV, and almost all sexually active individuals have been infected by HPV at some point in their lives. It is important to understand that getting HPV is not the same thing as getting HIV or HSV (herpes).

How do men get HPV?

HPV infection is transmitted by having sex with someone who is infected with HPV. This disease is spread easily during anal or vaginal sex, and it can also be spread through oral sex or other close skin-to-skin touching during sex. HPV can be spread even when an infected person has no visible signs or symptoms.

What are the symptoms of HPV?

Most men who are infected by HPV never develop symptoms, and the infection usually goes away completely by itself. However, if HPV does not go away, it can cause genital warts or certain kinds of cancer.

See your healthcare provider if you develop a new or unusual symptom, such as warts, or unusual growths, lumps, or sores on your penis, scrotum, anus, mouth, or throat.

What are the symptoms of genital warts?

Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area around the penis or the anus. These warts might be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. The warts in men may go away, or stay the same, or grow in size or number. Usually, the physician is able to diagnose genital warts simply by looking at them. Genital warts can come back, even after treatment.The types of HPV that cause warts do not cause cancer.

Can HPV cause cancer?

Yes. HPV infection itself is not cancer but it can cause changes in the body that lead to cancer. HPV infections usually go away by themselves but HPV infection can cause certain kinds of cancer to develop. These include cervical cancer in women, penile cancer in men, and anal cancer in both women and men. HPV can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (calledoropharyngeal cancer). All of these cancers are caused by HPV infections that do not go away. Cancer develops very slowly and its diagnosis is not possible for years, or even decades, after the initial HPV infection. Currently, there is no way to know who will have only a temporary HPV infection, and who will develop cancer after getting HPV.

How common are genital warts-related cancers in men?

Although HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, HPV-related cancers are not common in men.

Men that belong in the following groups are more likely to develop these types of cancers:

  • Men with weak immune systems (including those with HIV) who have been infected with HPV.
  • Men who receive anal sex are more likely to get anal HPV and develop anal cancer.

Can I get treated for HPV or health problems caused by HPV;

There is no specific treatment for HPV, but there are treatments for HPV-caused health problems. Genital warts can be treated using:

  • Co2 LASER
  • Sublimation using RF Diathermocoagulation
  • Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen
  • Conventional surgical removal
  • Treatment with chemical agents

HPV-related cancers are more treatable when diagnosed and treated promptly.

Lowering the chance of getting HPV

To lower the chances of HPV infection and HPV-related diseases:

  • Vaccination. HPV vaccines are safe and effective. They can protect men against warts and certain cancers caused by HPV. Ideally, men should get vaccinated before their first sexual contact.
  • Use condoms the correct way every time you have sex. This can lower your chances of getting all Sexually Transmitted Diseases, including HPV. However, HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom, so condoms may not give full protection against getting HPV.

See the other categories on warts and call us on 216 900 5000 to evaluate your condition or answer any questions you may have:

Oral Warts

Warts and Cancer

Penile Warts

Anal Warts

Warts in Women

Vaginal Warts

Vulvar Warts