Manscaping for Men's Sexual Health
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an incredibly common virus. It's so common, in fact, that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Most sexually active people in the United States (U.S.) will have HPV at some time in their lives." Unfortunately, many people think HPV only affects women. From a very young age, females are taught about the dangers associated with HPV, often focusing on the possibility of cervical cancer some strains are known to cause.
Society seems to overlook the fact that there are more than 40 strains of the virus, and they can be equally as harmful to men as women. HPV tends to find its way from human to human by way of between-the-sheets activities, no matter which gender is participating in the adult activities. Sexual encounters of all kinds -- vaginal, anal, and oral -- run a risk of exposing partners to HPV if proper precautions aren't put into place before the foreplay begins.
What is HPV?
HPV is the name given to an entire group of viruses. Each strain affects the body differently, but generally speaking, these viruses find their way into people's lives by way of the skin and moist membranes. For obvious reasons, HPV is most likely to be transmitted during sexual activity. The down side? Getting down and dirty with an infected individual can lead to more than a person bargains for.
Genital warts are among the the physical unpleasantries associated with HPV, but they're not the worst outcome that can occur. Just as HPV is known to cause cervical cancer in women, it's been shown to cause cancer in men's genitalia as well. A look at the CDC's data, along with a report by Medical News Today, reveals the following startling statistics:
- Anal Cancer (different from colorectal cancer, which is more common): HPV causes over 90 percent anal cancer (1,500 men annually.)
- Penile Cancer: HPV causes over 60 percent of penile cancers (400 men annually.)
- Oropharyngeal Cancer (occurs at the back of the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils): HPV is responsible for around 70 percent of oropharyngeal cancer cases (5,600 men annually.)
On the plus side, the CDC estimates 90 percent of HPV infections go away on their own within two years. The stronger a person's immune system is, the more likely his body will be able to battle off the virus. On the contrary, men with very weakened immune systems, particularly those with immunodeficiency issues such as HIV, may find themselves with more severe versions of the virus.
How Do Men Know They Have HPV?
The thing is, many men don't exhibit any symptoms. HPV can be present for years without presenting any signs, even if a person hasn't been sexually active for a long time. As with any other sexually transmitted disease, a single encounter can transmit the virus, particularly since many people have no idea they're even infected. Genital warts are the most obvious giveaway that something's gone amiss, but, as noted previously, not everyone experiences physical symptoms. It's also worth noting that the warts usually don't cause pain, so if they appear on a guy's testicals, penis, or other private part, they may not be detected unless the fella is doing his due diligence with self-inspections. Warts can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures. It's important to see a doctor anytime something appears on the body that wasn't there until recently.
The cancers can be much harder to detect. Discoloration of the penis, bleeding, or pain around the groin area are causes for concern. Above the waist, constant coughing, an incessant sore throat, or sudden voice changes should be looked into by a medical professional.
Although there is not currently an approved HPV test available for men, a doctor may be able to diagnose an infection based on an analysis of warts. Screening tests are not available for penile cancer or overall "HPV" status, and anal cancer screening is not routinely recommended. However, any abnormalities on a man's penis, scrotum, or around the anus should be considered worthy of a medical appointment, even if they don't hurt.
Regular manscaping is an important part of your anti-HPV arsenal. Trimming is especially important, so use a genital-specific trimmer like The Lawn Mower from Manscaped. It can catch anything that may look abnormal, since it forces you to examine your genital area. Plus, it can uncover warts or skin issues when you remove hair.
Men's health is an important issue. Knowing what's going on below the belt could ultimately be a lifesaver. Take charge of your health and put the power of knowledge in the palm of your hands with regular self exams. Get started with great grooming and hygiene habits by cleansing well with Crop Cleanser and moisturizing with our Manscaped reside-free, anti-chafing Crop Preserver moisturizer!