The human papillomavirus is one of the most common diseases that nobody is immune to. According to medical statistics from the World Health Organization, around 70% of the world's population is infected with HPV, and most of those infected are not even aware of their disease. Despite long-term studies on the nature of the papillomavirus, scientists have still not found a way to completely cure it. Nowadays it is only possible to suppress the activity of the causative agent of the disease, but under the influence of certain unfavorable factors it will return with new strength.
HPV routes of infection
Papillomavirus is an unpleasant disease that causes the appearance of genital warts, growth on the skin, and papillomas on the mucous membranes of the larynx and oral cavity. In fact, HPV itself does not pose a particular threat to human health, but its external symptoms spoil its appearance, cause pain when damaged, and can even become an oncology provocateur. Due to the risk of a malignant tumor, this disease must be treated immediately, otherwise the consequences will be irreversible.
The human papillomavirus infection spreads very quickly. Basically, it is transmitted intrauterine during pregnancy (from mother to child) or through contact:
- via handshakes;
- when touching a patient in public transport;
- during sexual intercourse with an infected person.
The budget chart is in second place. In this case you can catch the virus:
- through animal hair;
- when using other people's hygiene items;
- when putting on clothes or shoes belonging to an infected person;
- when visiting shared pools, reservoirs, showers.
HPV activation is not immediate. Often, after a year or two from the moment it enters the body, the disease makes itself felt or does not manifest itself at all. If no external symptoms are noted, a person infected with papillomavirus moves to a group of carriers and spreads. It is possible to detect this infection without any external signs until after a laboratory diagnosis, but few people think about it until the disease enters the active phase.
An interesting fact is that the external signs of the disease in pregnant women are temporary. The reason for this lies in the fact that when the expectant mother carries a fetus, her immunity is weakened, which was what previously kept the infection in a latent form. After childbirth, the protective functions of the woman's body are restored and the disease can go away on its own.
Papillomavirus: degree of oncogenicity and types of growth
All existing papillomavirus types are divided into several categories depending on the degree of oncogenicity:
- safe growths;
- neoplasms with low probability of conversion to oncology;
- papilloma with average risk of developing a cancerous tumor;
- particularly dangerous neoplasms.
Based on the data of medical practice, in most cases (70-94%) particularly dangerous types of papillomavirus infect the female body. In urology and gynecology they cause cancer precursors such as cervical cancer.
Types of papillomas
All papillomas are divided into several groups according to their appearance and location:
- Warts- Plantar on the feet, vulgar on the fingers, youthful (flat) growth on the skin;
- Genital warts- genitals, area near the anus, mucous membranes in the vagina, oral cavity, lips.
In addition, neoplasms can develop on the vocal cords. In this case, one speaks of larynx papillomatosis. It is commonly diagnosed in newborns and women who are infected with condylomatosis.
In the event of an early visit to the doctor, the papillomavirus can progress to an advanced stage and a person has many different growths throughout the body with varying degrees of oncogeneity. Fighting massive papillomas will be very difficult.
If you notice any signs of papillomavirus on the skin, you should immediately contact an infectious disease specialist or dermatologist. If growths appear on the genitals, the patient should see a gynecologist (for women) or a urologist (for men). The doctor is obliged to conduct a visual examination and make an initial diagnosis. After that, the patient is sent for an examination. This is a mandatory procedure, since in addition to HPV there are many other diseases, the external symptoms of which are very similar to those of infection with the human papillomavirus.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the most common method in laboratory diagnostics. The biomaterial used is blood, which is scraped off the skin or the mucous membranes of the genitals.
After taking a tissue sample from a patient, the laboratory staff use special enzymes that copy human papillomavirus RNA and DNA particles from the biomaterial. Then they are "driven" through the infectious disease database, the type of infection and its concentration identified.
There are many reasons why PCR analysis is the main method used to diagnose papillomavirus. Among these, it is worth highlighting the main advantages of this method:
- Hypersensitivity - a disease can be detected immediately after it enters the body.
- Universality - absolutely any biomaterial is suitable for analysis;
- large coverage area - allows identification of all types of HPV present in the body;
- Analysis speed - the results are known within a few hours;
- high accuracy - the technique never gives false results (the exception is a violation of the technology for performing diagnostic measures, which is extremely rare).
In addition, the acceptable costs of the analysis must be noted. The price of PCR is much lower compared to other methods of diagnosing HPV.
Digene HPV Test
Not so long ago, Digene technology appeared in medicine, with the help of which it is possible to identify all types of human papillomavirus infections, starting with low oncogenicity and ending with particularly dangerous types of the disease. Despite the fact that this technique is a novelty, it is gaining popularity very quickly. For example, in European countries it has already been recognized as being more effective than PCR analysis.
The main advantage of the Digene HPV test is that, unlike PCR, it can not only detect the papillomavirus and determine the type of disease, but also determine the degree of its oncogenicity. Thanks to this, the doctor can more correctly choose the treatment and reduce the likelihood of oncology due to HPV to a minimum.
A secondary positive feature of this diagnostic method is the precise determination of the concentration of viral cells in the body. When decoding analyzes, doctors pay attention to this feature, since it is on this basis that the selection of a course of therapy is made.
All treatments for human papillomavirus
HPV is not a sentence! It is impossible to get rid of it completely, but it is quite possible to live without its external manifestations.
The treatment regimen for papillomavirus infections includes three stages:
- Removal of external signs of disease (growth);
- Completing drug therapy;
- Strengthening the immune system to prevent relapse.
The entire healing process for HPV should be done under the supervision of a doctor. Making changes yourself is fraught with health problems or a decrease in the effectiveness of drugs prescribed by a specialist.
Doctors give the opportunity to independently use additional methods of fighting the virus (traditional medicine, conspiracies, therapeutic baths). Before using them, you should tell the doctor about them.
Basic abutment removal methods
It is not recommended to remove the growth yourself, as damage to the papilloma or condyloma can cause the remnants of the neoplasm to transform into a cancerous tumor. To safely eliminate the external symptoms of infection, you should use professional techniques:
- Freezing of liquid nitrogen;
- Destruction of radio waves;
- laser therapy.
General contraindications for the removal of papillomas by hardware are:
- the presence of chronic diseases that are in the acute stage at the time of visiting the medical center;
- damage to the skin at the site of localization of growth;
- Suspected malignancy of the neoplasm;
- skin infections.
In addition, the client can be refused surgery if he is under the influence of drugs or in a state of alcoholic intoxication.
Removal of the growth with a scalpel
In some particularly advanced cases, the patient must seek the help of a surgeon. This cardinal method of dealing with growths is prescribed only if the papilloma has grown more than 4 to 5 cm, or the person has contraindications to one or another cosmetic procedure.
Surgery is the only effective way to get rid of large warts and large groups of neoplasms. Its disadvantages are:
- the appearance of a scar after the operation;
- need for anesthesia (local or general);
- long rehabilitation phase.
If you have a small single papilloma, you can be treated with chemotherapy. It is based on the use of drugs for external use, which penetrate into the deep layers of the epidermis and destroy the base of growth. As a result, under the influence of aggressive chemical compounds, it dies and disappears, leaving a barely noticeable depression.
The disadvantage of this treatment method is that the components of the antipapilloma drugs also burn out healthy skin cells. In addition, due to the risk of damage to the mucous membranes, chemotherapy cannot remove warts and warts that are localized in the oral cavity or on the genitals.
Course of drug treatment
Today it is not known how the papillomavirus can be cured forever. The action of all existing drugs for HPV is aimed at suppressing the activity of the infection and strengthening the immune system, which can independently block the development of the disease.
The complex drug therapy includes several types of drugs at the same time:
Antiviral drugs stop the development of infections, and immunostimulants strengthen the body's protective functions, which keeps the disease in a latent form.
The choice of this or that drug depends on the individual characteristics of the patient's organism.
Injections have become an alternative to oral medicine.
Strengthening the immune system
In contrast to antiviral and immune stimulating drugs, vitamin complexes can be selected according to the patient's personal preferences. They are not the mainstay of therapy and are intended to aid the human body in fighting infection.
If desired, pill vitamins can be replaced with healthy foods. To compensate for the lack of nutrients in the body and restore its protective functions, it is enough to switch to plant-based foods rich in vitamins E, C, D.
Prevention of the papillomavirus
There are several groups into which all existing preventive measures against papillomavirus are divided:
- Prevention of infections taking into account the methods of spreading infections (primary prevention);
- early diagnosis of the disease;
- Protection of the body from re-infection after therapy.
In the first case, a person must protect himself from infection in every possible way. For this he needs:
- stop having promiscuous sex;
- wash your hands after visiting public places;
- takes care of personal hygiene;
- Avoid visiting dubious beauty salons (precisely because of insufficient disinfection of cosmetic or manicure tools, the probability of an infection with papillomavirus in the beautician's office is quite high).
- eat well;
- wear shoes when visiting pools or saunas;
- strengthens your immune system;
- Clean the house regularly.
Despite the following recommendations, there is still a small chance of developing HPV. Therefore, doctors insist on regular visits to the infectious disease specialist and delivery of biomaterial for analysis. This will help identify the virus during the incubation period and get rid of it quickly.
If the infection has nonetheless occurred and the disease manifests itself externally, preventive measures are of no use. Only a specially selected treatment will help here. After that, you need to take care to prevent relapse of the disease. To do this, you need to apply the rules of primary prevention and remain under the supervision of a doctor for another 2-3 weeks.
Does the HPV vaccination protect women?
Despite the fact that there is no 100% cure for the human papillomavirus, women can avoid contracting certain cancers of the disease. Two drugs have been developed for this.
These drugs are given as a solution for injection and protect the body against different types of HPV (6, 11, 16, 18, 33, 45).
Vaccination with these agents takes place in three steps:
- First dose - on the day of the injection;
- Second dose - after 60 days;
- The third dose is in six months.
After vaccination, the body gains the ability to kill viral cells whose DNA was part of the drug, provided the person was not previously infected with them. Therefore, before injecting any drug, a woman is subjected to mandatory laboratory diagnostics.
In order for the immunity to be maximally developed, the vaccination must be carried out at the age of 18 years. Some developed countries have mandated this procedure and all students go through it.
If necessary, you can have a paid vaccination in a private clinic.