HPV - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Saturday, 09 January 2016 - 4:01 pm IST

Overcoming The Myths Of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

HPV or Human Papilloma Virus is known to belong to the papillomavirus family and is known to affect the human skin as well as the moist membranes that line all of the human body. These membranes are basically known to be present in the throat, mouth, feet, fingers, nail, anus and cervix region of the body. Also, there are present to be more than 100 kinds of HPV out of which 40 are known to affect the genital area. Most of the HPV’s are known to cause no symptoms in people. However, some of these viruses are known to cause warts or can increase the susceptibility of the body towards cancer such as that of the cervix, vagina, anus or oropharynx.

The HPV contains more than 16-18 strains and thus are known to cause nearly all kinds of cervical cancer and are also known to raise the case of cardiovascular disease in people. According to a study in 2012, men are known to be more susceptible to oral infection of HPV as compared to women.

HPV Genital Infections

The Genital Human Papillomavirus is one of the most commonly spread sexually transmitted infections all across the world. There are known to be more than 40 different types of viruses that are known to infect the genital regions and thus can affect males and females equally. A lot of people who suffer from HPV are unaware of the same, due to the lack of the signs and symptoms.

In some of the major cases, affecting women, it has been observed that young women are not infected for a long period of time with the virus. 70% of the infections amongst women tend to get cleared up within one year

However in almost 5-10% of the cases, the infection is known to persist for a longer period of time. Also, HPV tends to increase the risk of people to develop cancerous legions in the cervical area.

Signs And Symptoms Of HPV Infection

In a large number of cases, there are no noticeable signs and symptoms in case of HPV. Also, in 90% of cases, the immune system of the body destroys all the HPV cells within 24 months of contraction of the same. Certain types of HPV virus are known to cause genital warts amongst people suffering from the disease.

Also, in a small group of people they are known to cause throat warts. The HPV are known to alter the structure of the body cells and therefore, leads them to become cancerous and causing cervical cancer in most of the cases.

The HPV warts are different from the cancer causing warts. There are known to be around 120 different types of HPV’s. Some of them are carcinogenic in nature, while others are the ones that can be transmitted sexually.

Some of the major lists of signs and symptoms that may persist in people suffering from HPV infection are as follows:

    • Common warts: These are basically the rough and raised bumps that are known to generally affect the fingers, hands and the region around the nails. Also, they tend to bleed sometimes and thus, many people may experience pain around these warts.
    • Plantar Warts: These are the small lesions that tend to appear on the soles of the feet and generally look like a cauliflower, consisting of many small petechiae under the surface of the skin. Also, they also can be scratchy and bleed. Patients also feel pain while they are standing or walking. These may look similar to corns or calluses.
    • Flat Warts: They look like raised and flat topped lesions that look to be darker than the skin that surrounds them. They generally appear on the knees, elbows, wrists and hands. Teenagers and youngsters are known to be affected by them more.
    • Anogenital Warts: They are small, flat and cauliflowers like warts that have stem like protrusions from them. In females, the warts tend to appear on the vulva, around the vagina and on the cervix. In males, they tend to appear around the penis and anus and on the scrotum. They are rarely painful and do not cause much discomfort.
    • Cervical Cancer: during the initial early stages there are hardly any signs or symptoms. However, women upon having Pap smear tests are known to detect the precancerous changes that occur around the cervical region and can progress towards cancer with the passing of time.

The Causes Of HPV Infections

The HPV Virus is known to enter the human body via the means of a small cut, tear of abrasions on the outermost layer of the skin. As per the research of the scientists, it has been known that the primary way via which HPV infection spread is from skin to skin contact from one person to the other. On the other hand, the genital HPV infection is the one which occurs via sexual intercourse, which includes both the vaginal and anal sex. Oral sex with the effected person may lead to the causing of infection in the oral and respiratory regions.

A mother is known to transmit the infection to her baby during the phase of childbirth, though this is known to be quite rare. Also, when this occurs, then in such a case the respiratory and genital infection. Sharing of the contaminated items in one of the less common way for the transmission of the HPV from one person to the other.

Major Risk Factors Of HPV Infection

Sexual Lifestyle:  it is one of the major risk factors. The more number of sexual partners a person has, the more is the likelihood of the person being infected with HPV. This raises the risk for the infection amongst people.

Young Age: Children and teenagers are more known to have warts as compared to the adults. Also, though warts may be affecting adults, they are more common in kids.

Compromised Immune Systems: People who tend to have a weak immune system are the ones that have a greater chance of suffering from HPV. People who are also HIV Positive are more susceptible towards the development of HPV infections.

Diagnosis Of HPV Infections

The doctor is able to make the diagnosis if he is able to observe the warts in the genital area upon the physical examination of the patient.

Some of the following tests are conducted over the people who develop the warts:

    • Pap Smear test: In this a sample of the cervical cells is collected and sent to the lab for the examination. This test is able to determine the change in the cell structure; as abnormal cells are known to have a high risk for development of cancer later on.
    • DNA Test:  This test is able to determine the presence of the HPV Varieties that are often associated with the genital cancer risks. Also, cervical cells are tested in lab and DNA analysis is done for the same.
    • Vinegar Solution Test: In this the vinegar solution is applied to the genital area and in case there is a HPV infection, then the areas will turn white. Some flat legions are hard to detect, but most of the legions can be easily detected via this test.

Treatment Options For HPV Infection

There is no treatment known specifically for curing HPV in people. In most of the cases, the virus tends to get treated out on its own, given the right time.

However, some medications are known to be used extensively for the treatment for HPV.

    • Salicylic Acid: This is used to remove the warts, one at a time. They can be brought OTC and should not be used casually as they may cause irritation.
    • Trichloroacetic Acid: They burn off the warts in the genital region.
    • Cryotherapy: In this, the warts are frozen with the help of liquid nitrogen until they freeze and fall off.
    • Laser Surgery: In this, the warts are removed by burning them.
    • Surgery: The doctor cuts off the warts in this one.
    • Electrocautery : In this the electrical current is used to burn off the warts and the legions.

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