HPV: Symptoms, Diagnostics and Treatments
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a viral infection that is responsible for warts in various areas of the body. The most widely known strains of HPV are those that cause genital warts and cancer of the cervix. These types of HPV are usually transmitted sexually and are one of the leading causes of cancer among women.
HPV Signs and Symptoms
In some cases, the human papillomavirus produces no symptoms whatsoever. However, the most common HPV symptoms are warts. HPV pictures often show different types of warts on different parts of the body. For example, the following types of warts are common among patients with HPV:
1. Genital warts. Varying in shape and size, genital warts in women are typically found on the vulva, anus, cervix and in the vagina. In men, genital warts are commonly found on the penis, scrotum and the anal area. Although a nuisance, genital warts rarely cause pain or discomfort of any kind.
2. Common warts. These warts are typically found on the hands and fingers and may vary in size and shape.
3. Plantar warts. Found on the bottom of the feet, plantar warts may cause pain due to pressure from standing, walking or wearing shoes.
There are several ways to diagnose HPV, the most common of which include the following:
1. Pap tests. During a pap test, cervical cells are collected and sent to a laboratory for testing. A pap screen can help identify strains of HPV that produce no symptoms but lead to more dangerous complications like cervical cancer.
2. Vinegar test. In suspected cases of HPV, a vinegar solution may be applied to affected areas. This helps physicians pinpoint lesions that may not be visible otherwise.
3. DNA testing. In some cases of HPV, DNA tests are performed on cervical cells. This helps doctors recognize strains that lead to cervical cancer, which can enure early treatment and better chances of recovery.
HPV treatment can include a variety of medications and procedures. Drugs used to treat this virus include topical creams that remove warts on the surface of the skin, as well as medications that boost a patient's immunity to HPV and other infections. Common procedures associated with HPV treatment include the following:
1. Surgical removal of warts.
2. The use of laser technology or electrical currents to remove warts.
3. Removing warts by freezing affected areas with liquid nitrogen.
In order to prevent a worsening of symptoms and other complications, patients with HPV should seek treatment as quickly as possible and schedule regular follow-up appointments and screenings.