HPV is a growing concern among children and adults alike because of the potential threat is can cause to our health. Whenever we hear something about HPV it usually involves the potential threat to women because of their increased risk of certain cancers as a result of HPV, however men should be aware of the potential risks to themselves as well.
HPV is actually not just one, but an entire group of viruses. These viruses are constantly modifying themselves and do so by evolving rapidly, which makes for new versions each and every day.
The good news is that this isn’t different from many other viruses out there, and is something that our immune system is used to dealing with.
With that being said though there are certain strains of HPV that can be harmful, so it is important to be aware of it and do things like regular testing to prevent potential damage done.
Most People Will Get HPV in their Lifetime
There is a huge stigma that comes along with having HPV, because of all the negative health effects that can come as a result. The truth is however that most people will contract some type of HPV in their lifetime. Most of the time the body is able to kill of the strain on its own and usually results in no ill effects, and thus goes unnoticed.
Up to 80% of all women will get infected with HPV before the age of 50. The infections are always present in our bodies in the dormant or latent form, however some strains like the ones that cause cervical cancer “reawaken” causing these ill effects sometimes long after infection.
There’s More Than One Dangerous Type of HPV
The links of some strains of HPV to cervical cancer are well documented and well known, however other strains are responsible for other cancer types as well.
In 2013, researchers published an article on recent findings in HPV strains, which said that they found at least 12 different types linked to various types of cancer. These types of viruses can be spread in multiple ways, either through the vagina, anus or orally.
HPV Can Cause More Than Just Cancer and Genital Warts
Another common problem associated with HPV is the appearance of genital warts as a result. Most people know of this, and treatment usually involves a quick removal. Another problem with HPV though is that it can cause warts in the throat as well.
If severe enough, this growth of warts in your throat can cause coughing fits and may even need to be surgically removed because they can potentially obstruct breathing. This can be an extremely painful and the procedure may have to be repeated because the warts can grow back.
Brushing Your Teeth May Help Prevent HPV
Brushing your teeth on a regular basis may help to fight against HPV infection as those who have poor oral health are more than 50% more likely to contract the virus based on one study.
Good oral health doesn’t mean that your teeth have to be the perfect shade of white, but you should be looking out for things like gum disease, canker sores or any other lesions you have which can give the virus and easy way to infiltrate your body.
Make sure you visit your dentist regularly to not only check for cavities, but for cleaning also.
Get Vaccinated if Possible
There are vaccines out there that can protect against HPV, and they not only just for children. Many people don’t know but some of these vaccines are effective in people up the age of 26 so make sure you are getting vaccinated.
Remember there are multiple strains of this virus that can cause various types of cancer, so if you qualify for multiple vaccinations, you should get them to better protect yourself.
Vaccinations Are Safe-Including the HPV Vaccine
The HPV vaccine has already been administered to over 150 million people worldwide and has been deemed safe by multiple health organizations and countries alike, so you don’t have to worry about its safety.
The younger you are the more effective it is so get it as soon as possible. The vaccine is free under most health care plans so check with your insurance provider to see if you are fully covered.