HPV, Human Papillomavirus: Most Common STD and Linked Directly to Cervical Cancer in Women
HPV Treatment: Warts, Genital Warts, Cervical Dysplasia
There is no cure for HPV, but treatments are available for the symptoms caused by the virus.
Of the more than 150 types of HPV (human papillomavirus), at least 40 can infect the anal or genital area, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Most of these infections never cause any symptoms and go away on their own, with no treatment, the CDC notes. (1)
But if an infection persists, some types of HPV can cause genital warts, and others can cause a variety of types of cancer, including cervical cancer and oropharyngeal cancer — cancer on the back and sides of the throat, tonsils, and base of the tongue.
Other types of HPV can cause common, nongenital skin warts on other areas of the body.
Treatment for HPV depends on the specific issue or symptoms caused by the virus. There is currently no medical way to rid your body of HPV once you have it.
How Genital Warts Are Treated
Genital warts — which are usually caused by HPV types 6 and 11 — can appear throughout the genital area, as well as inside the anus, vagina, or urethral opening, and on the cervix.
There are a few patient-applied and doctor-applied medicines for external genital warts. At home, you can apply:
To treat your external genital warts, your doctor may administer:
Aside from these, your doctor may try cryotherapy (freezing the wart) or various surgical treatments (excision, electrosurgery, laser therapy) to treat your external warts.
For internal genital warts, treatment may involve cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen, surgical removal, trichloroacetic acid, or bichloroacetic acid.
Treatment for Precancerous Cervical Changes
In women, some types of HPV can cause the growth of precancerous cells on the surface of the cervix — known as cervical dysplasia — which can lead to cervical cancer.
Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, with 70 percent of cervical cancer cases resulting from HPV types 16 and 18, according to the CDC.
Getting regular Pap or HPV tests raises the likelihood of catching cervical dysplasia early, and removing precancerous growths can help prevent cervical cancer from developing.
Severe cervical dysplasia is treated with one of several types of surgical procedures, including:
- Laser therapy
- Cold knife conization (or cold knife cone biopsy), in which a cone-shaped piece of abnormal cervical tissue is removed with a scalpel or laser knife
If cervical dysplasia has progressed to cervical cancer, a woman may be advised to have a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), or to undergo radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both.
RELATED: Cervical Cancer Treatment
Treating HPV-Related Cancers in Other Parts of the Body
In addition to causing cervical cancer, HPV can cause several other types of cancer:
- Anal cancer
- Oropharyngeal cancer
- Penile cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
At present, there are no established screening guidelines for HPV-related cancers other than cervical cancer, so typically these cancers are found only when they cause symptoms, and treatment is based on the stage of the cancer when it is detected.
Home Remedies for Common Skin Warts
Common skin warts frequently go away on their own without any treatment, especially in children. But it can take two to three years for a wart to go away, so many people opt to treat them.
Home remedies and over-the-counter products for warts are generally safe for people in good health, but if you have diabetes, loss of sensation in your feet, or poor circulation to your feet, do not attempt to treat foot warts on your own. See a doctor for treatment.
One way to treat warts at home is with a topical, over-the-counter product that contains salicylic acid. For best results, soak the wart area in warm water for 10 to 20 minutes, then use a disposable emery board to remove the layers of dead skin before applying the salicylic acid. Repeat the soaking and skin removal steps between each treatment. (2)
A similar approach is to do the soaking and sanding steps, then cover the wart with a small piece of duct tape. Remove and replace the duct tape every five or six days, repeating the soaking and sanding step each time you replace the tape.
Over-the-counter cryotherapy products, which freeze the warts to break down the abnormal tissue, are also available but can be painful to use. They are also not as effective as the cryotherapy treatment a doctor can deliver.
RELATED: 11 Tips to Protect Your Feet and Legs if You Have Diabetes
Medical Treatment for Skin Warts
If you choose to see a physician for treatment of warts, you may receive one of the following:
- Cantharidin, a chemical that causes a blister to form under the wart
- Electrosurgery or LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) — which burns warts off with an electric current — combined with curettage, a technique that involves scraping off the wart with a sharp knife or spoon-shaped tool
- Excision (cutting out the wart)
If these treatments are ineffective, your doctor may opt for more potent treatments, such as laser treatment, chemical peels, or injections of bleomycin, an anti-cancer medication. ()
Immunotherapy may be an option for warts that are resistant to all other forms of treatment.
This type of treatment may involve shots of a natural virus-fighting protein called interferon, which can help give your immune system a boost.
How to Prevent Common Skin Warts
HPV is ubiquitous, meaning it’s found everywhere, so it may be impossible to prevent all warts.
Video: Is The HPV That Causes Warts Cause Cancer?
This is the best time to eat breakfast, apparently
Steve Madden Fall 2012 Lookbook
How to Reuse Privacy Fence Boards
How to Maintain a Carved Pumpkin
10 Things Your Party Host Wont Tell You
ICB by Prabal Gurung FallWinter 2013-2014 RTW – New York Fashion Week
How to Recover from Workout Soreness
Peruvian Fish Soup
21 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of White Spots On Skin (Vitiligo)