5 Sexual Hygiene Tips for HPV Prevention

5 Sexual Hygiene Tips for HPV Prevention

Feb 16
5 Sexual Hygiene Tips for HPV Prevention

HPV prevention: How do you prevent HPV?

HPV is very contagious by skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV from sexual and non-sexual ways. Prevention is the best way to protect you and others against the infection. For more details about HPV prevention, read on this article.

What Should You Know about HPV

1. What Is HPV?

HPV (or Human Papillomavirus) is a very common virus. It includes over 100 different types and can affect moist membranes in the body. Most HPV types are harmless, but 40 of them can infect the genital areas and lead to an HPV infection. The tongue, mouth and throat can also be affected by HPV.

HPV is highly contagious. It can be transmitted from person to person through skin-to-skin contact. This includes:

  • genital touching,
  • sexual intercourse (oral, vaginal, or anal sex),
  • sharing sex toys

You can also pick up the infection from an infected surface at your doctor’s office or in public places like the gym.

Different types of HPV can cause different kinds of warts. Genital warts can be annoying. They are considered the most common sexually transmitted disease. Some types of HPV can also cause abnormal cell changes in the cervix, penis and anus, but this is rare. 

what is HPV

2. What Are HPV Symptoms?

In most cases, HPV doesn’t cause any symptoms at all. Often, the immune system clears the virus before you realize it. But sometimes, HPV can show up within 1 to 2 months after exposure. HPV symptoms can vary, depending on the type of your infection. For example:

If you’re infected with low-risk HPV, you may develop genital warts. The warts are small bumps or growths on your genital area. They can appear singly or in clusters that may look like small cauliflowers. Other symptoms include:

  • itching or discomfort in the genital area
  • pain or bleeding during sex

If you think you might have genital warts, talk to your doctor.

If you’re infected with high-risk HPV, you may get cancer over time. Symptoms are not usually present. To detect abnormal cells in your genital area, it’s important to get Pap tests or HPV tests.

The warts are small bumps or growths on your genital area

Read more: How to Read HPV Test and Pap Test Results

3. Does HPV Cause Cancer?

Yes, HPV can be directly related to cancer. High-risk HPV such as type 16 and 18 can lead to cancer. Some of the most common HPV-associated cancers are:

It can take 10 to 30 years for HPV to turn into cancer. Therefore, it’s important to see your doctor for early detection and treatment.

HPV causes cancer

4. Can HPV Be Treated?

There is no cure for HPV. However, the virus can clear on its own within 1 to 2 years. Without treatment, HPV warts can go away, but they can usually recur.

If you have genital warts, there are some treatment options for you.

Medications. Salicylic acid. VidaroX. Aldara. Veregen. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Applying one of these solutions can help eliminate your warts. VidaroX is one of the best and most common creams for genital warts. Using this cream can take a few days to weeks to see results. 

Surgeries and other medical procedures. Cryotherapy. Electrocautery. Surgery. A laser. These methods should be performed in your doctor’s office.

5 Sexual Hygiene Tips for HPV Prevention

1. Clean Up After Sex

This tip is especially for women. Due to a vulnerable vagina, women are more likely to contract HPV than men. It is recommended that women wash their genitals immediately after sex. This does not fully protect you against HPV but can prevent your vagina from smelling. Also, cleaning up after sex can wash away fungi and germs. This can help prevent BV and yeast infections.

Men should also clean himself after sex. Dry your body properly after showering or bathing to avoid jock itch.

“Use warm water to wash your genitals” many doctors suggest.

cleaning up after sex can wash away fungi and germs

Read more: What Happens to Your Body after Intercourse

2. Communicate With Your Partner

Communication is the key to great sex. It can help you both save a lot of troubles in the future. Openly talk with your partner about your expectations, your fears, and your concerns in bed.

Ask your partner about their STD status. Are they HPV-free? Do they have other kinds of infections? How did they treat and manage it? What can you do to protect yourself and your partner against infections? Besides, be honest with him or her about your sexual and medical history.

Read more: How Can I Ask My Partner to Get STD Tested?

3. Change Your Underwear Every Day

Among HPV prevention tips, this is extremely important. Changing your undies daily can help prevent bad genital odor, irritations and infections. Women should change their pads and tampons regularly. This is because bacteria, fungi, and viruses thrive well in dark, warm areas. If you leave these things for too long, you will be more prone to infections. People who sweat a lot should also change their clothing daily. Heavy sweating or moisture can make HPV warts grow and spread rapidly.

change pads and tampons regularly to prevent HPV

4. Be More Observant in Bed

When you and your partner are naked for sex, check their private parts. Check yourself, too. In fact, an abnormal change in your genitals could say a lot about your sexual health. Rash. Redness. Bumps. Blisters. Warts. Sores. These could indicate that you’re having an STD, or even cancer. If you notice such symptoms, stop having sex and bring them up with your doctor.

Read more: 7 Types of Bumps You Should Never Try to Pop

5. Talk to Your Doctor

It’s very necessary to consult your doctor about HPV prevention. They can give you more detailed information about HPV. And if you need STD test or any medical check-ups, they will help you. Doctors suggest some tips that help you prevent HPV, such as:

  • Get vaccinated with either Gardasil or Cervarix
  • Use condoms every time you have sex
  • Avoid oral sex
  • Limit the number of your sex partners
  • Do not have sex at an early age
  • Get circumcised (for men)
  • Do not share personal items with others
  • Have regular Pap tests (for women)

HPV vaccine

Sexual abstinence is the best HPV prevention method. However, this is unrealistic and there are many ways to contract HPV without having sex. Good sexual hygiene is very important. These strategies can partly reduce your risk of catching HPV.  

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