HPV: human papillomavirus, what it is and how to treat it

The most common infection, which affects almost 90% of the world's population, is called HPV or human papillomavirus. Once a papilloma is found, no one is alarmed because it is considered common among warts. Get rid of them only if they interfere or carry a cosmetic defect. The disease is "human" and is transmitted only by a healthy patient: in everyday life, by touch, through the reproductive system, during childbirth. The disease can occur on the skin or mucous membranes in the form of warts, papillomas or wartsLet's find out what HPV is and how dangerous it is for humans.

papilloma of the skin

What is HPV?

The virus lives in almost everyone. HPV microbes are so small that they can enter the bloodstream through abrasions, scratches and small cuts on the skin. It may not be shown in any way throughout the life of the bearer, or it may be constantly displayed in all its glory. The incubation period can vary from a few weeks to several years. A signal for action is the weakening of the immune system. If papillomas appear on the skin and mucous membranes, then the body needs urgent treatment.

There are more than 70 species of human papillomavirus, but several new strains are registered each year. Usually, all types of HPV infection can be divided into two groups.

Warts are viruses that cause warts to develop in the body.

  • HPV types 1, 2, 3, 4 cause the formation of plantar warts or calluses;
  • HPV types 3, 10, 28, 49 are responsible for the appearance of flat warts;
  • HPV type 27 forms "butcher's warts";
  • HPV: 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19-24, 26, 27, 29, 57 - also develop warts.

Papilloma - viruses that cause the formation of papillomas and warts.

  • HPV 6. 11, 13, 16, 18, 31, 33, 31, 33, 58, 52, 39, 70, 30, 40, 42, 43, 51, 55, 57, 59, 61, 662, -64,

What is the risk of HPV?

Why have doctors been sounding the alarm over the past few years trying to educate the public about HPV? Because the percentage of cancer patients diagnosed with this virus is seriously increasing. Not only women with uterine cancer suffer, but also men with male genital oncology. The number of skin cancers among the elderly is also increasing.

Of course, there are types of HPV that do not affect a person's internal health, but their manifestations in the form of adult papillomas and warts are uncomfortable. They are classified as low oncogenicity - minimal risk of cancer. Such formations are easily removed by folk methods or aesthetic medicine. But the virus itself is not treated with any means and drugs. If a person becomes infected, then he is a carrier of the virus throughout his life.

Other subtypes of papillomavirus infection belong to the group of high oncogenicity, ie they can affect the formation of malignant neoplasms in the body.

There are 3 types of its oncogenicity:

  • HPV with low risk of cancer: 6, 11, 40, 42, 43, 44, 54, 61, 70;
  • HPV with moderate cancer risk: 26, 31, 33, 35, 51, 52, 53, 58, 66;
  • High-risk HPV: 16, 18, 36, 39, 45, 56, 59, 66, 68.

Diseases and types of HPV

Below is a list of types of papilloma virus.

Skin lesions:

  • Warts on the foot (calluses) 1, 2, 4
  • Common warts 2, 4, 26, 27, 29, 57
  • Flat warts 3, 10, 28, 49
  • Wart Butcher 7
  • Veruciform epidermodysplasia 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20-25, 36, 37, 46, 47, 50

Lesions of the genital mucosa:

  • Genital warts 6, 11, 42-44, 54
  • Epithelial lesions without invasion in other layers (intraepithelial lesions) may be precancerous 62, 64, 67-70
  • Cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus and penis 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 54, 56, 66, 68

Lesions of non-genital mucosa:

  • Lesions of the oral mucosa (focal epithelial hyperplasia) 13, 32
  • Recurrent papillomatosis of the respiratory tract 6, 11, 30
  • Malignant tumors of the head, neck, lungs 2, 6, 11, 16, 18, 30

Types of viral skin lesions

Most types of human papillomavirus infections are asymptomatic. The external manifestations of the disease are different, here are some types:

common warts

common warts

The most common form of HPV is warts. Almost everyone can find on his body a similar papule with a diameter of not more than 5-7 mm. Warts are usually found on the outside of the palm, between the fingers, on the feet, on the chin, eyelids and scalp. Warts can grow in size and form colonies of the maternal papule. Then they can cause discomfort: itching and tingling in the growth sites.

The most "sick" are plantar warts, their common name is "thorns". When walking, they put pressure on the nerve endings, which causes severe pain. Such growths are recommended to be surgically removed in clinics. Ordinary warts are not a threat to human health, they almost never develop into cancerous tumors.

Butcher's warts

Butcher's warts

Butcher's warts look like many thick strands protruding from a single growth. It is most common on the fingers, especially at the sites of cuts. Long filamentous papules cause inconvenience to their owner, as these formations do not look aesthetically pleasing. They may bleed on impact or scraping. Although in the oncological sense, such warts are safe, but their damage will lead to problems. Doctors recommend that you remove it by all means.

flat warts

flat warts

Flat warts are also called "adolescent warts" because they often appear during adolescence. They look like a dry grouped large rash on the skin. Cover the forehead, cheeks, chin, forearms. The color may not differ from the skin or be smalldarker.

Butcher's warts

butcher's warts

Butcher's warts are scars from warts the color of normal skin. They can be single or in groups of several pieces. The name of these growths of warts is given by the professional activities of butchers. We can say that this type of infection is an occupational disease of the meat industry.

Veruciform epidermodysplasia

epidermodysplasia verruciformis in HPV

This disease can be confused with pityriasis versicolor, so you should consult a specialist. It is inherited, but is very rare in the form of dermatosis. Externally it looks like the accumulation of flat scaly rashes and age spots. The main sites of localization are the face, neck and arms. Unfortunately, this form of wart disease can develop into cancer.

Periungual warts

periungual warts

Warts located near the nail destroy the nail plate. They grow deep into the skin and deform the finger. They do not develop into malignant tumors, but this does not make them less undesirable. The operation is necessary both for aesthetic reasons and for the health of the fingers.

Bowen's disease

Bowen's disease with HPV

This form of HPV tends to degenerate into squamous cell carcinoma. When the skin is damaged, redness of 5 mm is formed, which grows and is covered with crusts. The upper layer of the epidermis is affected, the growth can be up to 5 cm in diameter. It is more common in the elderly because the immune system is reduced.

Genital warts

genital warts

This type of HPV is sexually transmitted and therefore affects the genitals of men and women, as well as the mucous membranes of the urinary system and anus. The appearance of the formations resembles cauliflower or rooster comb. Genital warts can also appear in the corners of the mouth due to oral sex. The growths must be removed, as it is possible to injure them and cause infection during rubbing.

Papillomas in the oropharynx

throat clearing and papillomas in the pharynx

HPV infection in the mouth is also similar to cauliflower. White plaques can descend into the lungs and trachea, making it difficult for a person to breathe. You can damage the papilloma during a meal, which in turn can lead to cancer. As the malignant tumor cannot be distinguished from the benign one, it is necessary to perform tests before plaque removal.

Flowering papillomatosis can be not only in the elderly. The disease occurs in children and adults. The main signs of laryngeal papillomatosis are dysphonia (speech disorder) and aphonia (inability to speak), hoarse voice and difficulty breathing.

Methods of treatment

Methods to eliminate papillomavirus infection do not exist today. Therefore, the treatment is to remove external formations and suppress the virus in the patient's body. There are cases when some types of virus die alone in the body for several years. Which methods and preparations to use for treatment is determined by the doctor only on the basis of the diagnosis, research and external examination of the patient.

Destructive methods:

  • surgical excision (excision) of the wart / papilloma (used only when a malignant lesion is suspected);
  • electrocoagulation - cauterization of the formation with a coagulator through which an electric current passes;
  • cryodestruction - the destruction of the wart with liquid nitrogen;
  • laser treatment - the impact on the formation of a laser beam;
  • radiowave method - exposure of the wart / papilloma using the Surgitron device.

Chemical treatments:

  • cauterization with salicylic acid;
  • treatment of education trichloroacetic acid 50-90% concentration;
  • mixture of acids - treatment with a preparation for education (effectiveness is very low).

Antiviral and immunomodulatory drugs should be included in the therapy to activate the immune system and suppress HPV.

Disease prevention

It is quite difficult to avoid contracting the HPV virus, as it can be infected in a bathroom, swimming pool, using ordinary household items, in a hospital. But these strains are mild and do not cause cancer. Prevention usually comes down to personal hygiene, quick treatment of cuts and injuries with antibacterial agents and the use of protective equipment during work.

Particular attention should be paid to the prevention of sexually transmitted viruses. Protecting your body with condoms is unlikely to succeed. A viral infection in a partner can be localized near the genitals and in the mouth. The best way to avoid infection is pre-vaccination. Girls and boys should be vaccinated before the onset of sexual activity between the ages of 11 and 13. Immunity lasts from 3-5 to 10 years and depends on the vaccine and the type of virus. Vaccination can then be repeated if there is a risk of infection (change of sexual partners).

High-risk HPV can indeed cause tissue changes and lead to cancer. But several years pass between the first signs and the development of cancer. That is why it is so important to have annual medical check-ups with a doctor, especially for women. Regular gynecological examination reveals changes in both the external genitalia and the cervix. Take care of your health!