Symptoms and Treatment of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Infection
HPV infection causes warts. There are over 100 varieties of human papillomavirus (HPV). Various types of HPV infection can cause warts in various parts of the body.
Some types of HPV cause warts on the feet, while other varieties of HPV cause warts that most often occur in someone’s hand or face.
There are more than 40 different types of HPV that specifically affect the genital area. Most HPV infections do not cause cancer, but some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer.
In most cases, the immune system overcome an HPV infection before it has a chance to create a wart. When the warts appear, its form can vary depending on the type of HPV involved:
- Genital warts can appear as a flat wound, small, shaped like a cauliflower, or a small rod-shaped protrusions. In women, genital warts appear most often on the vulva but may also occur near the anus, the cervix or vagina. In men, genital warts can appear on the penis and scrotum or around the anus. Genital warts rarely cause discomfort or pain.
- Common wart have a shape of a rough bumps that usually appear on the fingers or around nails. In most cases, common warts are annoying because of its shape but it could also be painful or vulnerable to injury or bleeding.
- Foot warts. Foot warts usually appear on the heel or ankle or foot area that most feels pressure. These warts may cause discomfort or pain.
- Flat warts are flat, slightly raised, and darker than normal skin color. Usually appear on the neck, face, hand, wrist, elbow or knee. HPV infections that causes flat warts usually affects children, adolescents and young adults.
- Cervical cancer. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by two specific varieties of genital HPV. Both types of HPV usually causes no warts, so women are often unaware that they have been infected.
Early stage of cervical cancer usually causes no signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s important for women to have regular Pap tests. This test can detect precancerous changes in the cervix that can cause cancer.
Treatments and medicines
Warts often disappear without treatment. But even if the wart is gone or removed, the patient can still be issued with HPV and can pass the virus to others.
Medicines used to remove warts are usually applied directly to the wart and usually requires regular use before succeeding. Examples include:
- Salicylic acid. Treatments containing salicylic acid works by removing layers of the wart gradually. Do not use this product for genital warts, because they will cause severe irritation.
- Imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara). Cream that can enhance the ability of the immune system to fight HPV.
- Podofilox (Condylox) podofilox cream works by destroying genital wart tissue.
- Trichloroacetic acid. Chemical medicine that burn genital warts.
If the drugs are ineffective, your doctor may suggest one of the following procedures:
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy)
- Electrocautery, which uses electric current to burn the warts or lesions
- Laser surgery