Who wants to unveil their pride and joy – whether to a new potential sex partner or to the guys hanging around the gym locker room – and have people see that their manhood is covered with penis bumps? Sure, many penis bumps are benign and not a penis health concern – but by the same token, many may not be so benign. And whether benign or not, a potential partner may not be able to tell. A case in point: when those penis bumps are the result of HPV (also known as the human papillomavirus).
HPV has been in the news in recent years, but many of those stories have focused on the problems that HPV can cause in women. Because of this, many sexually active men think that either men can’t get HPV or that it can’t have any effect on them.
Both of these assumptions are wrong. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that almost all people (of any gender) who are sexually active will get HPV at some point in their lives, unless they have been effectively vaccinated. (Currently, about 79 million Americans are thought to be infected.)
So what exactly is HPV? It’s a virus, as the name implies, and it most often is spread through sexual contact – anal, vaginal or oral. In some cases, it can be spread through other forms of skin-to-skin contact. So having unprotected sexual contact with someone who already has the virus can easily spread the virus to their partner.
Now, often a person can get HPV and never know it. In the majority of cases, the virus goes through the system and goes away without leaving nay visible signs or causing any health issues.
But not so in other cases. One of the more common symptoms associated with HPV in men is the development of penis bumps in the form of genital warts. (Women can also develop these warts in their vaginal area. Anal warts also can come about from anal sex in either sex.) The warts can vary in size from very small to fairly large. They can be flat but or more often raised above the skin surface; and they often have a cauliflower-like look to them.
These warts are unattractive and very off-putting, and they can recur even after they have gone away. A doctor’s care is needed to determine the best kind of medical treatment for them.
A more serious complication from HPV can be cancer. HPV doesn’t cause cancer itself, but it increases the risk of cancer developing. In men, this may be penile cancer or, if they receive anal sex, anal cancer. Men who contract HPV from oral sex may develop cancer of the throat or tongue.
There are at this time no tests or treatments for HPV in men, so taking steps to prevent HPV is recommended. Young men can have the option of a vaccination, which is not currently recommended for men over 26 years of age. Using condoms is definitely recommended to prevent acquisition of HPV.
Penis bumps from HPV can be scary, so practicing prevention is key. Men should also just generally take steps to keep their penises healthy, such as regular application of an excellent penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). The best cremes of this type include a wide range of key vitamins, such as A, B5, C, D and E. Ideally, the crème should also contain L-carnitine. This neuroprotective amino acid helps maintain proper penis sensitivity, which can become diminished over time through over-aggressive handling of the penis during sex (partner-based or solo).