Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus) - What Happens
Based on the type of HPV, you
may or may not have visible
HPV types 6 and 11 produce visible warts. These warts may go away on their
own, stay the same, or increase in number.
- Other HPV types, such as
16 and 18, do not produce visible genital warts. These types, which may be
found with a
Pap test, are linked to precancerous cervical
cell changes and
HPV infection and cervical cell changes
most precancerous or cancerous cell changes associated with HPV infection occur
cervix. This is because the cells of the cervix
naturally undergo changes in an area called the
transformation zone. This process can cause cervical
cells to become abnormal when they are infected with HPV.
Infection with high-risk types of HPV increase the chance that a woman with HPV
will develop abnormal cervical cell changes. It is important to have regular
exams by your doctor. If your doctor finds abnormal cells on a Pap test, the
cells can be treated to help prevent them from changing to cancer.
HPV infection and anal and penile cancer
Among people who receive anal sex, HPV infection of
the anal canal is associated with an increased risk of anal cancer. This risk
may be especially high in men who also have
It is not clear
whether men who are infected with HPV on the penis are more likely to have
precancerous or cancerous changes on the penis than men who are not infected.
Because HPV does cause cell changes, more research is being done to find out
whether HPV increases the risk of penile cancer. In the United States, cancer
of the penis is extremely rare.
HPV infection during pregnancy
The presence of
HPV and abnormal cell changes does not affect the outcome of the pregnancy. A
pregnant woman who is infected with the type of HPV that
causes genital warts may have more complicated warts than a woman who is not
pregnant. Genital warts may increase in size, bleed, or become infected with
bacteria. Your doctor may recommend treatment. Warts may be passed on to the
newborn, but this is rare.