Human papillomavirus (HPV) is considered one of the most common types of viral infection in the world. Without proper treatment, this disorder can lead to a number of serious health problems, both for women and men. More than 100 types of HPV are known, one tenth of which increases the risk of developing serious cancer. Human papillomavirus - what is it and how to fight it?
Ways of infection
The most common cause of infection is through sexual intercourse. Literally at the first sexual contact in life, the probability of infection is high. This does not exclude the possibility of re-exposure. For this group of viruses, by the way, sexual contact with penetration does not play a significant role.
Many strains of HPV do not have a significant effect on body conditions. Some of them "die" after a short period of time after infection, some remain viable for 24 months. Often they disappear on their own, even without a targeted therapeutic solution to the problem.
But not all HPVs are so vulnerable. Certain types can linger in the body for a long time, provoking the development of neoplasms (and malignant nature, too). Human papillomavirus in women causes cervical cancer, and in the absence of adequate treatment can be fatal. In men, certain strains of HPV also contribute to the formation of cancer cells of the genital organs. Moreover, some interrelations of HPV and oncological diseases of the anus, vulva, vagina and penis were established.
Papilloma - how to identify symptoms in women?
Approximately 70% of all cases of cancer of the cervix and precancerous gynecological pathologies are associated with 16 and 18 strains of HPV. Today, there is adequate treatment of human papillomavirus 16 and 18 types in women with special vaccines. But the lack of time, the low level of sexual culture and the insufficient social standard of living of citizens of some countries, leads to a high mortality rate due to cancer.
Certain symptoms in women and the development of specific diseases in most cases indicates the presence of papillomavirus in the body. This allowed us to classify HPV types based on their severity.
Warts (on the palms, feet) - do not cause significant harm to health, are more considered as a cosmetic problem.
Genital warts (on the mucous membranes of the genital organs and epidermis, as well as other organs of the urogenital system, around the anus and even in the mouth) can develop into serious inflammation, including peptic ulcer disease.
Bovenoid papulosis (affects the skin of the external genital organs) - characterized by the appearance on the skin of whitish, pinkish or yellowish flattened plaques, may cause a complication in the form of skin cancer.
Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (precancerous condition of the cervix uteri) - proceeds in 3 stages, the last of which is the 1st stage of cancer. As for the presence of characteristic manifestations, they are often absent, which complicates the early diagnosis of pathology and, as a result, the effectiveness of treatment. When the cancer disease manifests itself, the following symptoms are observed:
- irregular menstruation, regulation outside the cycle;
- bloody discharge after copulation;
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge;
- discomfort in the vagina;
- pain in the lower torso, in the pelvis, legs;
- swelling of the lower extremities (usually one);
- loss of appetite and weight loss;
- chronic fatigue.
In the advanced stages of cancer, the symptoms are more severe.
The activity of viral cells increases due to adverse factors:
- the presence of microtraumas in the genital area;
- weakening of immunity;
- hormonal disorders (including in women during pregnancy);
- under the influence of bad habits;
- the presence of other sexually transmitted infections;
- early sex life;
- a large number of partners;
- unprotected sex.
How to diagnose HPV?
Since the human papillomavirus is an infection that is transmitted primarily through sexual contact, the first necessary diagnostic tool is the regularity of visits to the gynecological clinic.
The patient will be assigned to the following studies:
- analysis for polymerase chain reaction - a type of biological study for the detection of pathogenic DNA;
- external and internal gynecological examination;
- laboratory tests: HPV test, oncocytology;
- colposcopy - subject examination of the cervix multiple magnification (screening);
- collection of cells and tissues of the cervix (if necessary).
Comprehensive diagnostics allows not only to establish the type of papillomavirus, but also the breadth of its influence on the state of the body. From the overall assessment depends on the method of the chosen therapeutic technique.
At the moment, unfortunately, there are no such medical methods that HPV "cut down on the vine." But it can weaken and even block the ability to vitality.
Drug treatment is selected due to the presence of characteristic signs of a viral infection, but there are also general rules. This is, first of all, a set of destructive methods using antiviral, immunostimulating drugs, interferons and interferonogens.
In the presence of external formations (for example, warts, warts) are used chemical and surgical methods of exposure:
- laser destruction;
- radio wave coagulation.
But the removal of external manifestations does not eliminate the virus completely. Therefore, patients are assigned an individual anti-relapse treatment and prophylactic course. It is not recommended to prescribe medications for yourself, but to take only those medications that were prescribed by a doctor, in accordance with the regimen.
Cancers of oncological nature are subject to surgical intervention, radio and chemotherapy.
What to do next?
Improving living standards (social rehabilitation), getting rid of bad habits, routine gynecological examinations, prevention and treatment of associated diseases. Of course, sexual culture, personal hygiene and safe sex are important. Vaccination of 16 and 18 types of HPV can be effective if carried out before the first sexual contact.
Please note, the vaccine is not a medicine in the classic sense. These are special serums that contain signs of the virus that are introduced into the body in order for the immune system to develop individual immunity to the virus.
Warn HPV disease before it's too late!