How HPV Affect Women’s Health

How HPV Affect Women’s Health

Low-risk HPV (types 6 and 11) will probably lead to genital warts, in which reoccurrence is common even after treatments.

Normally, women who get high-risk HPV (types 16 and 18) would not see any symptoms or serious threats to health. However, if the virus is unable to be eliminated by the immune system, or the cervix is attacked by HPV persistently, Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN, or precancerous cervical lesions) may be developed in five years. CIN indicates the abnormal or pathological change of the cells in the cervix. For example, CIN I cause mild changes, CIN II and CIN III result in moderate and severe changes respectively. (Please refer to “How Does HPV Lead to Cervical Cancer” for more details about CIN)

Untreated high-risk HPV can also lead to serious cancers such as vulva, vaginal anal and oropharyngeal cancer (rear throat, meaning the parts nearby the base of the tongue and the tonsils). It is possible to get low-risk and high-risk HPV simultaneously.

Women who have high-risk HPV can pass it on to their male partners through sexual intercourse, which will increase his risk of penile cancer. Symptoms may not be developed after getting high-risk HPV, though the virus will be carried for a lifetime. Thus it is essential to get checked with sexually transmitted diseases regularly so as to protect yourself as well as your partner.

Below are some of the HPV-related diseases & symptoms:

Low-Risk HPV

Genital warts:

  • Small sarcoma, tumors or abnormal dermatological changes that occur in or around vulva, vagina, anus and cervix. Tumors could appear raised or flat, or concentrated, forming a pinkish, cauliflower-like large tumor
  • Could be a single wart or concentrated warts
  • Painless, but may be itchy and lead to inflammation
  • May stay for weeks, months or years
  • May cause anal or urethral bleeding

High-Risk HPV

Cervical cancer:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, e.g. in between two menstrual cycles or after sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Vaginal discharge with a foul odor and blood, or feeling discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Some cervical cancer patients will suffer from back pain, encounter difficulty in passing urine or bowel opening, and have lymph swollen in feet, groin or neck. An abnormal passage between vagina and rectum may be present.

Vaginal cancer:

  • Vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse or menopause
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Need to urinate frequently and the urination often comes with blood. May also find difficulty in urination and the urine may as well come with blood

Anal cancer:

  • Bleeding, pain and itchiness in the anus, and may come along with abnormal discharge.
  • Swollen lymph nodes appear around the anus and groin
  • Change in habits of bowl opening or the shapes of stool

Oropharyngeal cancer:

  • Prolonged sore throat or ear pain
  • Frequent coughing
  • Have difficulty and pain when swallowing and breathing
  • Weight loss
  • Voice become husky for more than two weeks
  • Bumps around the neck