HPV Symptoms in Women: Silent and Common

November 12, 2012

HPV Symptoms in Women: Silent and Common

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that has been linked to causing genital warts and certain cancers, especially cervical cancer. There are over 100 strains of HPV that cause cancer or genital warts. Two strains in particular, called HPV Number 16 and HPV Number 18, have been directly linked to potentially deadly cervical cancer.

The bad news is that 50% of all women worldwide will get infected with HPV. The good news is that now a vaccine exists to protect women from these two HPV strains responsible for cervical cancer. This vaccine must be given to girls before they become sexually active in order for it to work and to prevent HPV symptoms in women. The ideal age for vaccination is 11 or 12.

Silent HPV Symptoms in Women

About half of women infected with HPV show no symptoms. Most women who are infected with HPV will never show HPV symptoms in women because their own body’s immune system will neutralize the virus strain or strains. But if that woman is sexually active for those two years or gives birth to a baby vaginally, then she can spread HPV on to others.

Infected women that do not show any HPV symptoms are said to have silent symptoms. “Loud” symptoms of HPV can take months or years to manifest after a woman becomes infected. This is why is it so important for pregnant women to be tested for HPV or a woman over 30 to get a regular cervical smear or PAP smear test. Taking these tests can prevent a lot of misery.

Common HPV Symptoms in Women

When HPV symptoms in women manifest, the woman develops genital warts inside of the folds of the vagina which may go up into the cervix. Warts can also appear on the lips of the vagina, around the groin, inside of the thighs, inside of anus and around the anus. There may be one genital wart or there may be many. Genital warts may be pink, flesh-colored or borderline red. Genital warts in women may vary considerably in size, texture and shape.

Other HPV symptoms in women cannot be seen with the naked eye but can be seen with specialized medical equipment such as a microscope. HPV can cause abnormal changes in the cells or the secretions of the cervix. These abnormal changes can be the earliest signs of cancer. The sooner cancer is treated, the better a woman’s chance is for surviving.


By the time cervical cancer begins to wreak havoc on a woman’s body, the cancer is in its later stages and very difficult to treat. These symptoms include abdominal pain, bleeding in between periods and pain during sex. Getting an annual PAP smear test can help prevent this from happening.

Using condoms can help greatly reduce both a woman and a man’s chance of getting infected with HPV. It is still possible to get infected while using condoms, such as touching a partner’s sexual fluids and then rubbing one’s eyes, but the chances are much smaller.

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