Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV): Symptoms and Prevention of the HPV

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HPV virus
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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a viral infection that’s transfer between people through skin-to-skin contact. There are different varieties of HPV, more than of which are passed through sexual contact and can affect your genitals, mouth, or throat.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI).
It is also so common that most sexually active people will get some variety of it at some point.
Sometimes cases of genital HPV infection may not cause any health problems. However, some types of HPV can also lead to the development of genital warts. Cancers of the cervix, anus, and throat.

Human papillomavirus causes

Human papillomavirus infection is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. Most people get a genital HPV infection through direct sexual contact, such as, vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
Because HPV is a skin-to-skin infection, that is why, intercourse isn’t required for this transmission.
Many people have HPV and do not even know about it. In some rare cases, a mother who has HPV can transmit this virus to her baby during delivery. When this happens, the child may also develop a condition known as recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. In this condition they develop HPV-related warts inside their throat or airways.

HPV symptoms

Often,Human papillomavirus infection does not cause any symptoms or health problems.
However, because the virus is still in a person’s body that person may unknowingly transmit HPV.
When the virus does not go away on its own, it can also cause serious kind of health problems. 

Such as  genital warts , warts in the throat (Also known as recurrent respiratory papillomatosis).

HPV can also cause several types of cancers such as cervical cancer and other cancers of the genitals, head, neck, and throat.
The types of HPV that can cause warts are different from the types that cause cancer. So, having genital warts that caused by HPV does not mean that you will develop also cancer.
Cancers that start with HPV often do not show symptoms until the cancer is in later stages of growth. Regular screenings can help in diagnose HPV related health problems earlier. This can also improve outlook and increase the chances of survival.

Human papillomavirus in men

If you notice any unusual bumps or lesions on your penis, scrotum, or anus see your doctor soon.
Some kinds of HPV can cause penile, anal, and throat cancer in men. Men who receive anal sex and men with a weakened immune system may be more at risk for developing HPV-related cancers.

Human papillomavirus in women

Like men, many women that get HPV do not have any symptoms and the infection goes away without causing any kind of health problems.
Some women may notice that they have genital warts, which can appear inside their vagina, in or around the anus, and on the cervix.
Check your doctor if you notice any unexplained bumps or growths in or around your genital area.
Some kinds of HPV can also cause cervical cancer or cancers of the vagina, anus, or throat. Regular screening can help to detect the changes associated with cervical cancer in women.  DNA tests on cervical cells can also detect strains of HPV that associated with genital cancers.

HPV tests

Test for HPV is different in both men and women.

Women

Women have their first Pap test, or Pap smear, at the age of 22, regardless of onset of sexual activity.
Regular Pap tests also help to identify abnormal cells in women. These can be signal for cervical cancer or other HPV-related problems.
Women ages 22 to 29 should have just a Pap test every three years. After ages 29 to 65, women should do one of the following:
receive a Pap test every three years
receive an HPV test every five years; it will screen for high-risk types of HPV
receive both tests together after every five years; this is known as co-testing
Standalone tests are preferred over co-testing.
If you are younger than the age of 30, your gynecologist may also request an HPV test if your Pap test results are abnormal.
You may also need to get a Pap test more frequently. Your doctor may also request for a follow-up procedure, such as a colposcopy.
Cervical changes that can lead to cancer often take many years to develop. HPV infections often go away on their own without causing any cancer. 

 Men

It is important to note that the HPV DNA test is only available for diagnosing HPV only in women. 

HPV treatments


Most types of cases of HPV go away on their own, so there’s no treatment for the infection itself.

Genital warts can be treated with medications. Can be treated with Burning with an electrical current, or freezing with liquid nitrogen. But, getting rid of the physical warts does not treat the virus itself, and the warts may also return.
Precancerous cells may also be removed through a short surgical procedure.

 Cancers that develop from HPV may be treated by different methods such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery. Sometimes, we use multiple methods may be used.
There currently are not any medically-supported natural treatments that available for HPV infection.
Routine screening for HPV and cervical cancer is important for identifying, monitoring, and treating HPV infection. 


How can you get HPV?

 Other factors that can increases the risk for HPV infection include:

  • increased number of sexual partners
  • unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex
  • a weakened immune system
  • having a sexual partner that has HPV

    If you contract with a high-risk type of HPV, some factors can also make it more likely that the infection will continue and may develop into cancer:
  • a weakened immune system
  • having other STIs, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes simplex
  • chronic inflammation
  • having many children (cervical cancer)
  • using oral contraceptives over a long period of time (cervical cancer)
  • using tobacco products (mouth or throat cancer)
  • receiving anal sex (anal cancer)


HPV prevention

The easy ways to prevent HPV are to use condoms and to practice safe sex.
The HPV vaccine for boys and girls ages 11 or 12.  Women and men from age 15 to 26 can also get vaccinated on a three-dose schedule.
To prevent health problems associated with HPV, be sure to get regular checkups, screenings, and Pap smears tests. 

 HPV and pregnancy

Contracting HPV does not decrease your chances of becoming pregnant. If you are pregnant and have HPV, you may also wish to delay treatment until after delivery. However, in some cases, HPV infection can cause some complications.
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy may cause genital warts to grow. In some cases, these warts can bleed. If genital warts are widespread, they make a vaginal delivery very difficult.
When genital warts block the birth canal, a C-section is required.
In rare cases, a woman with HPV can pass this virus on to her baby. When this happens, a rare but serious condition called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis can occur. 

Sajid Saleem
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Sajid Saleem

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