Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a highly specific human infection from the Papovaviridea family, which has the ability to infect and transform epithelial cells. More than a hundred types of HPV have been identified, of which 35 infect the urogenital tract of a person, causing damage to the integumentary epithelium of the skin and mucous membranes of the genital organs.
A papillomavirus carrier is every sixth person - this is indicated in the WHO data. Infection caused by the papillomavirus is a warts (condyloma) and belongs to the group of virus-infectious diseases, which are characterized by the appearance on the skin and mucous membrane of the formation of papillomatous nature. HPV is characterized by its chronic form with constant relapses.
Why does the human papillomavirus develop, and what is it? The causative agent is a virus that infects the upper layer of the skin and mucous membranes of the genital organs. Transmission of these viruses is possible only from person to person, infection occurs upon contact with the skin or mucous membranes of a sick person.
Human papillomavirus infection can occur:
- With sexual contact. According to the International Medical Association, papillomavirus is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, and this is more than 60% of cases.
- At birth. Infection can be transmitted at birth from mother to newborn infant, which is then fraught with infection with HPV or a disease of laryngeal papillomatosis.
- With autoinoculation. Self-infection can occur when basic hygiene rules are not followed: hair removal or shaving.
- Domestic way. Human papillomavirus has a high survivability, and for a long time can be stored in a warm, humid environment of public places, such as toilets, baths, gyms, swimming pools. Infection occurs through various skin lesions directly upon contact, using personal hygiene items or in public places.
Different types of HPV cause or take part in development:
- cervical dysplasia (62%);
- preinvasive and invasive cervical cancer (38%);
- genital warts genital tract, urinary tract (51%);
- 10% of clinically healthy women are carriers of HPV;
- 85% of patients with typical genital warts of the external genitalia during the examination revealed additional foci of HPV infection of the vagina and cervix in severe and less pronounced forms.
These data allow us to consider patients with papilomavirus infections of the sexual ways as a high risk group for the development of cervical intraepithelial carcinoma.
The following classification applies:
- HPV, the manifestation of which are various types of warts (HPV 1-5):
- Plantar warts (resembles a callus), these are 1-4 types of HPV;
- Flat warts are 3, 10, 28, 49 types of HPV;
- Common warts are the 27th type of HPV.
- HPV affecting the vulva, vagina, genitals, cervix and respiratory tract are 6, 11, 13, 16, 18, 31, 33, 35 types of HPV.
- HPV, the lesion of which in the form of rashes is associated with the state of precancerous disease (HPV high oncogenic risk), these are HPV 39 and other types.
As you can see, these benign tumors are able to form anywhere on the body:
- the face;
- under the breast;
- in the armpits;
- on the genitals;
- on the mucous membranes of the internal organs, oral and nasal cavities.
The need to treat human papillomavirus is due to the following fact. The strain is an intracellular parasite that is not capable of independent reproduction. For these purposes, he uses the cells of the human body. The virus can parasitize for a long time, introducing its own DNA into human chromosomes. Its noticeable activation is observed against the background of reduced immunity.
The incubation period is long: from half a month to several years. For papillomavirus infection is characterized by hidden (latent) course. A person can simultaneously become infected with several types of papillomaviruses. Under the influence of various factors, the virus is activated, its reproduction is enhanced, and the disease enters a stage of clinical manifestations.
In most cases (up to 90%), self-healing occurs within 6–12 months; in other cases, a prolonged chronic recurrent course is observed with a possible malignancy process (depending on the type of virus).
Symptoms of Human Papillomavirus
Human immunity is strong enough to overcome the virus at an early stage of its development. And in most cases, the disease does not develop. However, after some time, after several months, years, or even decades, people may experience some symptoms of infection with the human papillomavirus.
There are several groups of diseases most commonly caused by HPV:
- Warts are round, more rigid than body growths with a diameter of 2 mm to 1 cm. The boundaries of the warts are very clearly defined, there are irregular warts. They are rough to the touch and can be of different colors. Most often they are formed on the places where the skin is most damaged: on the hands, knees or elbows.
- Plantar warts. They develop when infected with viruses of types 1, 2 in those places where shoes are rubbed or pressed on the legs. The skin at the site of the wart becomes thicker, the wart has no clear boundaries.
- Genital warts are peculiar warts that appear, as a rule, on the mucous membranes and skin of the genital organs: the head of the penis and the skin of the foreskin in men, the skin of the labia in the women. They can also appear in the bladder, urethra, on the cervix, in the vagina, on the skin around the anus, in the mouth. Outwardly, these genital warts look like small convex formations, their edges are uneven (looking like cauliflower). This disease is caused by human papillomavirus 6 and 11 types.
- Bovenoid papulosis. Small flat warts (somewhat like flat warts) appear around the genitals. Most often develops in men, constantly changing sexual partners. Called by the types - 16, 18, 31, 33, 42, 48, 51, 54.
Any viral infection that resides in the human body (and HPV refers to such), is activated only with a decrease in immunity.
Human papillomavirus: photo
To find out what the human papillomavirus in various manifestations looks like, we have prepared a selection with a photo.
Symptoms of the human papillomavirus in women
Infection can occur in a latent form, and can cause the development of genital papillomas. Genital warts occur mainly in women aged 15 to 30 years.
The main risk of developing a disease caused by types 16 and 18 is the development of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer reduces life expectancy by an average of 26 years. From the point of view of cancer development, only the virus that has been in the body for more than a year becomes dangerous.
Unfortunately, these diseases in women are often asymptomatic up to the last stages, in which the effectiveness of treatment is significantly reduced.
Symptoms of the human papillomavirus in men
For men, the human papillomavirus is less dangerous than for women. Most often they are passive carriers. The likelihood of developing cancer is much less.
HPV in men can cause genital warts on the foreskin, glans or bridle. Such education must be urgently removed, because they interfere not only with respect to personal hygiene, but also with sexual activity.
We list the main directions of prevention of human papillomavirus infection in humans:
- personal hygiene measures in public places;
- a healthy lifestyle that supports immunity at a high level;
- the correct mode of work and rest;
- moderate physical culture;
- taking vitamins, fruits, juices;
- only one sexual partner (ideally);
- condom use during sexual intercourse.
Currently, there are vaccines against human papillomavirus: Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil vaccine is effective against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 (protects against cervical cancer and genital warts), and Cervarix vaccine is effective against HPV types 16 and 18 (protects against cervical cancer, but not from condyloma).
Treatment of human papillomavirus
Currently, there is no antiviral drug that would cause the disappearance of human papillomavirus from the body.
Various interferons (reaferon, cycloferon, and others) and interferonogens (poludan, dihydrosanum, and others) can reduce existing condylomas, but do not reduce the frequency of formation of new ones. Therefore, the main method of treating human papillomavirus remains removal of warts by chemical or surgical methods.
Here are the main methods for removing papilloma tissue:
- Radiosurgical. The radio wave electrode cuts off the tumor, coagulates the vessels. An antiseptic dressing is then required.
- Laser. Contactless and bloodless way. In place of the removed papilloma there remains a crust under which the healing takes place. Cons - the risk of recurrence, high cost, the need to grind the remaining scars.
- Electrocoagulation. In terms of efficiency, results and prices, the method is similar to the two previous methods.
- Surgical. This is an operation under local anesthesia.
Before starting treatment, be sure to ask your doctor:
- What treatments are available at the clinic where you are undergoing treatment?
- How much does each treatment cost and what are the possible complications?
- Will surgery be painful?
It must be emphasized that the removal of papillomas should not be considered a complete cure for human papillomavirus infection, since in this case the person does not cease to be a virus carrier, that is, within a few years the papillary polyps may appear again. That is why in order to prevent physicians recommend to carry out the recovery of the whole organism.
Cryocoagulation (cauterization with liquid nitrogen) is a quick and effective treatment for genital warts. The procedure can be slightly painful and unpleasant, but this rarely worries patients.
Cryocoagulation of warts is carried out in several sessions for several weeks. Complete elimination of warts occurs in 75-80% of patients who underwent all procedures.
Recommendations to patients
You should not try to diagnose and treat human papilloma virus yourself.
- First, you need to choose the right method.
- Secondly, there is always the risk of confusing a genital warts with a malignant tumor.
It is better not to risk and entrust your health to professionals - this will ensure you a long and happy sex life. Sexual life during the treatment of the papillomavirus stops until full recovery. Necessary examination and, if necessary, treatment partner.