So what does HPV have to do with oral health and men? We’ll walk through knowledge about prevention as well as how maintaining great oral health can help you spot symptoms and determine the best treatment options.
HPV Symptoms in Men
While most HPV infections go away on their own and don’t cause health problems, some infections do stick around. According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), it’s possible to get HPV symptoms months or even years after initially getting infected. And sometimes, a Human Papilloma Virus diagnosis can lead to certain types of cancer.
In general, Human Papilloma Virus signs and symptoms in men could come in the form of warts, growths, lumps, or sores on the penis, scrotum, anus, mouth, or throat, and are due to transmitting the disease through sexual or skin-to-skin contact.
But what about HPV in the mouth? According to the University of California, San Francisco, oral HPV is thought to spread through deep tongue kissing and oral sex, however, there are no symptoms of oral HPV. About 10% of men and 3.6% of women have oral HPV, according to the CDC, and luckily most oral HPV infections don’t cause any health problems and go away without treatment within two years. That being said, certain types of HPV can cause oropharyngeal (throat) cancer. Symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer can include:
- Cough, or coughing up blood
- Pain when swallowing
- Lumps in the neck or cheek
- High-pitched or abnormal breathing sounds
- Lesions on the tonsils
- Pain or swelling in the jaw
- Sore throat that lasts more than three weeks and does not go away with antibiotics
- Persistent hoarseness in the throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
HPV is thought to cause 70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the United States. The development of oropharyngeal cancer due to HPV is about three times less prominent in females than in men of the same age. Typically, it takes years after getting HPV for cancer to develop, and it’s undetermined if HPV alone is the sole cause of oropharyngeal cancers or if other factors work with HPV to cause cancer (like smoking tobacco). Further, HPV is not known to cause other types of cancer in the head and neck.