Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection that affects most people. There are more than 40 strains of HPV. Besides the genitals, it can also affect the mouth and the throat.
HPV of the mouth is usually referred to as oral HPV. While oral HPV sometimes disappears on its own after a while without any serious health complications, it can sometimes result in warts in the throat and mouth and oropharyngeal cancer.
The Dangers Of Oral HPV
The symptoms of HPV are rarely noticeable until the infection is at an advanced stage. This makes it a dangerous infection. In fact, most unsuspecting people are infected with oral HPV. According to statistics, almost 3.6% of women and 10% of men are infected with oral HPV.
In very extreme cases, oral HPV results in cancer in the tongue, tonsils, and the back of the throat. This is known as oropharyngeal cancer. Studies indicate that oral HPV is responsible for 70% of cases of oropharyngeal cancer. After infection, it can take up to a year for you to develop cancer from oral HPV.
Cancer brought about by oral HPV can result in you coughing up blood, pain or swelling of the jaws, a lump in the cheek or on the neck, and trouble swallowing. You might also experience a sudden weight loss. Oral HPV has no known cure, and treatment usually involves managing the symptoms before they become a serious health concern. There are, however, vaccines that can protect you against the infection.
Oral HPV is predominantly spread through skin to skin contact with infected persons. Besides practicing safe sex and using dental dams when engaging in oral sex, we also recommend visiting our clinic for regular dental checks for any lesions in the mouth. Contact us to learn more about oral HPV today!