HPV treatment

Vaccination against HPV (human papillomavirus) to prevent disease

Human papillomavirus infection is one of the most common in the world. The situation is exacerbated because the problem is rarely discussed openly in the community, and people see doctors who are already in the final stages of the disease. Another difficulty lies in the fact that the virus that has already entered the body cannot be cured. The only way to protect yourself from that is timely vaccination.

What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an uncoated DNA virus with a relatively small size and modest structure. HPV tolerates high temperatures, exposure to ultraviolet rays, ether, chloroform and chemicals. Viral activity is neutralized by X-rays.

HPV is not a specific virus, but a large group of heterogeneous genetic transmission agents of various pathogens. There are about 600 of them in nature, but most of these viruses are only spread among animals and are completely safe for humans. Of the total number of HPV, only one hundred affect the human epithelium and mucous membranes. In a large number of cases, the virus is sexually transmitted. The likelihood of infection can be influenced by a variety of factors related to a person’s health and behavior.

Diseases associated with HPV have been known since ancient times. The documents we have mention warts on the hands and soles as well as papillomas on the genitals. However, opportunities to influence the spread of the virus emerged only at the beginning of the 21st century, along with the creation of effective vaccines against HPV. Vaccine development work was intensified after a link was forged between viral infections and the development of malignant tumors, particularly cervical cancer.

All human papillomavirus viruses known as drugs are divided into several types depending on whether they are capable of causing cancer. According to the classification proposed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there are 3 groups of high -risk HPV:

  • group 1 - high carcinogenic risk,
  • group 2A - possible carcinogenic risk,
  • group 2B - possible carcinogenic risk.

About 14 types of human papillomavirus are oncogenic, which can cause cancer. Virus types 16 and 18 are responsible for 75% of cervical cancer cases.

The infectious process during HPV infection takes place without a special inflammatory reaction, as this is the only virus studied that does not enter the blood of an infected person. HPV penetrates the mucous membrane into the basal layer of the epidermis. This is the lower layer of the skin, made up of cells capable of dividing. The continuous parting process ensures rapid skin renewal.

The incubation period for human papillomavirus infection is an average of 3 months. Furthermore, the disease persists in three forms:

  • latent (latent), when a person has no clinical symptoms, but he becomes a carrier of the virus and begins to infect his sexual partner;
  • subclinical with minimal symptoms dependent on viral serotypes;
  • clinical (manifest) with severe rash in the genital area.

Important!Viral infections and diseases are not the same thing. At a young age, when the immune system is functioning at full strength, it is able to independently eliminate pathogens from the body. In many countries of the world, HPV screening is done only after 30 years, because before that there was no information.

Once inside a healthy cell, the virus begins to produce its own DNA in it. Cells change morphologically, grow, turn into condylomas, warts and other skin formations.

In infected cells, the virus exists in two forms:

  • benign - outside the chromosome of the cell,
  • malignant - when viral DNA is inserted into the genome of a cell.

Interesting facts about human papillomavirus

  • In both developed and underdeveloped countries, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection.
  • The virus particles are so microscopic in size that condoms do not help 100% of the infection during intercourse.
  • About 75% of people become infected during sexual intercourse without a condom.
  • The vast majority of those infected are aged 20 to 24 years, the main risk group is young people aged 17-33 years.
  • The risk of infection is directly related to the immunological status: when the immune system is weakened, for example, during pregnancy, the likelihood of infection increases sharply.
  • HPV itself is not a deadly disease; the risk of death arises when a neoplasm turns into a malignant tumor.

Clinically, HPV manifests itself in a variety of ways:

  • Common warts on the back of the hands, feet, between the toes, on the scalp.
  • Long filament warts on the arms (Butcher's warts).
  • A group of flat warts rises slightly above the skin in the genital area, along the edges of the hair growth, on the skin of the forearms.
  • Lewandowski-Lutz hereditary disease. It is indicated by a large number of small dark warts or significant pigmentation.
  • Genital warts on the vaginal mucosa and male genital organs.

HPV affects the skin epithelium and mucous membranes of the male and female genitals, upper respiratory tract, rectum and other organs. Warts, warts and papillomas reduce quality of life, worsen appearance and affect self -esteem.

Where to go in case of illness

Since the disease is often asymptomatic, it is often found by chance while undergoing a medical examination. Various neoplasms of the skin - papillomas in the neck, in the armpits, under the breasts, on the genitals and other parts of the body - are usually of concern and seek medical attention.

If there are any types of papillomas, warts and other neoplasms on the skin, you should immediately see a dermatologist or dermatovenerologist.

To determine the level of risk of cancer, tissue cytological analysis is performed:

  • To determine the oncogenicity of the neoplasm on the skin, one of the warts is removed and the cells are examined to assess the presence of changes in it. Oncology is evidenced by degenerating or already degenerated into cancer cells.
  • To assess the development of cervical cancer, regular cytological examination of the cervical mucous membranes and cervical canal is performed. The analysis was performed according to a technique developed specifically for the early diagnosis of cervical precancer disease - Papanicolaou staining (PAP test).
  • To confirm the presence of the virus in the body and determine its type, PCR analysis of smears from the cervical canal in women and from the urethra in men is prescribed. Molecular biological PCR was used in addition to cervical examination in women over 30 years of age. This analysis was also set for the cytological results in question.

In 10-15% of infected people, this test detects several variants of the virus at once.

Important!It is necessary to consult a doctor on neoplasms that were first observed on the skin or mucous membranes. Early diagnosis of cancer provides a great chance of full recovery.

If there are papillomas on the skin and genital warts on the mucous membranes of the genitals, it is necessary to undergo an oncological examination at least once every 2 years.

Drug therapy

There is no specific treatment for HPV today. Despite ongoing research around the world, a cure for the destruction of the human papillomavirus virus has not yet been developed.

It has been shown that the risk of HPV infection is directly related to a person’s immune status: with reduced immunity, the virus acts more aggressively and more often causes the change of wart cells and papillomas into malignant tumors. In this regard, there is an opinion that drugs from the group of immunomodulators can be used as drug therapy for this disease.

However, the clinical effectiveness of drugs to enhance immunity has not been proven by scientific research, and such drugs are not used anywhere in the world, except in post-Soviet countries. A large number of experts believe that the guarantee of producers in high efficiency and absolute security of these funds is nothing more than a marketing ploy.

Immunity is a complex multicomponent system, and modern science has no knowledge of which system relationships need to be stimulated to fight viruses.

In clinical practice, destructive treatment methods are mainly used - removal of warts and papillomas using electrocoagulation, lasers, cryodestruction, radiosurgery, and chemicals. After some time after removal, the neoplasm on the skin will reappear, because the destructive method is unable to fight the virus itself. With repeated courses, repeated removal is indicated.

Specificity of treatment in women

The question of the effectiveness of treatment and prevention of HPV in women is very important, because this virus is one of the main causes of the development of cervical cancer. It is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide.

HPV in women manifests itself in the form of pale pink papillary growths on the external genitalia, anterior chamber and walls of the vagina, cervix, urethra. Formations on the cervix are detected when examined by a gynecologist using a mirror.

All women 21 years of age and older and sexually active are encouraged to undergo an HPV screening annually. If HPV is detected during screening, a PAP test is prescribed.

If both analyzes confirm the presence of the virus in the body, a more detailed examination is prescribed, including analysis to identify pathological changes in the tissue.

If the results of both tests are negative, the next comprehensive examination can be done after 3 years. The risk group included women with a negative PAP test, but with a positive test result for HPV: they were given a colposcopy (examination of the cervix) and a biopsy - taking tissue samples for research. The next exam is scheduled no later than a year later.

Important!HPV is not a barrier to pregnancy and childbirth: the risk of transmitting the virus to your baby is minimal. If a woman does not have HPV and has not been vaccinated against the infection, then vaccination should be delayed until the end of the lactation period.

Treatment for men

In men, HPV is often asymptomatic, but men are carriers of the virus and infect their sexual partners. If a papilloma appears, then it is usually localized on the foreskin and penile glands, in the scrotum, in the anus and in the urethra.

The treatment complex involves the destruction of papillomas with the aim of physically damaging their cells.

People's method

Traditional medicine offers many recipes for getting rid of papillomas, but it should be understood that removing any neoplasm on the skin without consulting a specialist and cell cytological examination can lead to very negative consequences. Aggressive effects on cancer cells accelerate their growth and lead to the rapid development of malignant neoplasms.

From folk recipes for getting rid of papillomas deserve attention:

  • celandine juice helps to get rid of papillomas when applied to the formation itself and its roots several times a day;
  • alcohol color of dandelion flowers - lubricant several times a day until completely gone;
  • a mixture of garlic gruel squeezed with any cream or butter is rubbed on the papilloma in the form of compresses for 2-3 hours.

Important!Before using traditional medicine, you should see a doctor!

Papilloma removal by surgical methods

Modern medicine offers a variety of effective papilloma removal surgical methods:

  • laser therapy - its efficiency reaches 90%, but there is a risk of recurrence, and the wound heals for a long time;
  • cryotherapy is very effective, but the procedure requires high precision so as not to affect healthy tissue;
  • removal by chemical preparations is now rarely used due to low efficiency and risk of mucosal damage.

Need to remove papilloma when:

  • significant aesthetic discomfort,
  • high risk of injury
  • the possibility of degeneration into a malignant neoplasm.

Papillomas should be removed only in a medical facility on the recommendation of a physician.

What to do if the papilloma is damaged

Injury to the papilloma is dangerous with the risk of infection in the wound and the acceleration of the growth of new formations.

In the event of accidental damage to the papilloma, it is necessary to treat the injury site with an aseptic agent and apply a bacterial adhesive plaster to the wound. If possible, you should see a specialist.

The best treatment is prevention

The main method of protection against HPV is timely vaccination. Vaccination in all developed countries is done for girls aged 9-11 years, and, for example, in the United States and Canada, boys are also vaccinated to reduce the number of virus carriers.

Important!The most effective vaccination is before the onset of sexual activity. Although the vaccine can be obtained at any time, it will only protect against a type of HPV that a person has never had.

Two HPV vaccines have been registered and approved for use. The vaccine, manufactured in the United States, protects against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause cervical cancer, and against types 6 and 11, common causes of warts, genital warts and other neoplasms. Vaccines produced in Belgium protect against the 16th and 18th virus types.

The HPV vaccine has undergone many clinical trials and is proven to be very effective and completely safe. They contain only viral envelope proteins that serve as antigens for immune cells. The risk of developing cervical cancer after vaccination is reduced by more than 90%.

In conclusion

HPV is a very common infection that in many cases can significantly reduce quality of life. Despite the lack of drugs for the virus, timely vaccination and a serious attitude towards methods of protection against infection during sexual intercourse will help avoid the disease.