Human papillomavirus is one of the most dangerous infectious diseases diagnosed in both sexes. According to medical statistics, more than half of the world’s population suffers from them, but only 3% of patients develop genital warts – external symptoms of the disease. In addition to the fact that condylomatosis (as this phenomenon is correctly called) causes aesthetic inconvenience, it poses a serious threat to a woman’s life, as it is the cause of cervical cancer.
Features of the disease
Condyloma is, in fact, a wart that affects the genitals of men and women. Such genital formations are an overgrown layer of skin and mucous membranes covering the human genitalia. In the process of growth of the papillary layer, that is, the direct growth of the formation, the carrier of the virus does not pose a threat to its sexual partner, but as soon as the pathogenic cells reach the upper layer of the epidermis, the situation changes dramatically.
Where do papillomas come from? Their development provokes the human papillomavirus (HPV). Once in the body, it is integrated into the DNA of the carrier, and remains with him until the end of life. Today, scientists know more than a hundred types of HPV, each of which is dangerous in its own way . Types of infection are divided by oncogenicity , that is, by whether they are capable of causing cancer or not.
IMPORTANT! Genital warts in women are caused by 11 types of human papillomavirus. According to medical data, the infection is present in almost 90% of patients.
The main manifestation of the disease is the appearance of genital warts on the labia or vagina of a woman, as well as the head or shaft of the penis, the scrotum in men. But such a manifestation of the disease occurs very rarely. While immunity is strong, pathogenic cells do not manifest themselves, but if factors arise that provoke a weakening of the body’s defenses, the pathology is activated, as a result, the formation of papillomas. Genital warts in men and women usually occur:
- after long-term treatment with potent drugs: antibiotics, hormonal agents, chemotherapy or radiation therapy;
- with a long stay on a diet, starvation (unbalanced diet, vitamin deficiency, loss of essential micro and macro elements);
- autoimmune diseases: HIV infection, AIDS, hepatitis, etc.;
- chronic pathologies, including oncological;
- prolonged stress, prolonged depression.
Genital warts in women often occur during pregnancy or immediately after childbirth. This is facilitated by the weakening of the immune system by the growing fetus, physical fatigue, nervous strain, hormone imbalance, lack of vitamins and minerals. The impetus for the activation of HPV can be unprotected sexual contact with the carrier of the infection, if his condition is currently dangerous to others. Lack of personal hygiene can also cause an increase in the activity of pathogenic microflora, exacerbation of genital infections and, as a result, a relapse of the disease.
The virus is transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person. The most popular way of transmission of the disease is through intimate contact of any kind. Since pathogenic cells are highly contagious , the risk of infection after the first sexual intercourse without a condom is 75%. In second place is the vertical route of transmission, that is, from an infected mother to the fetus during natural delivery. The household route is considered the rarest, and for some doctors it is doubtful, but cases of infection through common household items have still been recorded.
Varieties of neoplasms
Condylomas are divided into two types: exophytic (pointed) and endophytic – flat. An exophytic genital formation is a hollow wart with a stalk growing outward, forming a kind of outgrowth on the surface of the epidermis: its top is presented in the form of a kind of papilla, head. Such growths are provoked by a virus that has low oncogenic activity.
The growth of flat warts occurs inside the skin, provoking changes in the deep layers of the epidermis, their degeneration into cancer cells that form malignant tumors. The appearance of such warts is caused by HPV viruses, which have a high oncogenic activity.
IMPORTANT! Most often, endophytic neoplasms are found on the cervical canal of the representatives of the beautiful half of humanity. If the HPV virus is detected in a woman, and flat warts appear on the cervix, then she is at risk for developing a cancerous tumor.
In men, the greatest danger is flat genital warts on the head of the penis. On the penis shaft, scrotum or around the anus, exophytic warts are more often found, which are less dangerous. It is worth noting that the infection of guys is possible not only through sexual contact, but also during oral sex with a sick partner. The human papillomavirus multiplies perfectly in the mouth, since here the most favorable conditions are formed for it.
Manifestations of pathology
The initial stage of the disease is manifested by small, no more than two to three millimeters in diameter, formations. They occur in the place where there was direct contact with pathogenic cells:
- on the head of the penis;
- in the vagina;
- around the anus;
- in the oral cavity.
The incubation period – the time from the moment a harmful virus enters to the development of the first symptoms, is individual for each patient. For some, the harbingers of warts appear after a few months, for others – after decades. Someone may not realize until the end of his life that he poses a threat to the health and life of his other half. Usually, genital warts of the vulva or head of the penis grow within a few hours (no more than six), and this period is very dangerous for the sexual partner of an infected person.
With the active growth of the wart, the patient feels a slight itching or burning sensation around the anus or on the genitals. After a few more hours, warts of small sizes (up to one centimeter) appear. Their surface is bumpy, contains pimples (scales) resembling cauliflower inflorescences. As soon as the growth of genital warts ends, the discomfort disappears.
IMPORTANT! If the disease is not stopped, warts begin to affect nearby healthy tissues of the epidermis: labia, perineum, penis shaft and scrotum. Sexual contacts without a condom contribute to this: during friction , the scales of the formations come off and fall on a healthy surface.
The stem of the neoplasm is thin, sometimes like a thread. The color scheme is also very diverse: warts are flesh, light pink, red or burgundy. Lack of treatment leads to the fusion of formations: subsequently, the warts form one, but its size can exceed the diameter of a walnut. This situation is extremely dangerous, since such growths tend to rot and soften.
If the neoplasm has arisen on the mucous membrane of the anus, there may be difficulties with emptying the intestines. The patient feels discomfort or pain (depending on the size of the growth) during bowel movements, itching, burning. In other cases, patients do not feel any unpleasant symptoms, except for aesthetic discomfort. An exception is the formation of the cervical canal. With them, vaginal discharge increases, which usually have a repulsive smell of rot, contain blotches of pus, ichor or blood.
During the examination, neoplasms are divided into:
- syphilitic warts (have a wide leg);
- with molluscum contagiosum;
- with oncological processes of the epithelium.
Diagnostic methods are different. The first stage is an external examination of the patient, anamnesis, analysis of the symptoms felt by a woman or a man. Usually, the external signs of the disease are a clear indication of a preliminary diagnosis, therefore, upon examination, the doctor immediately tries to determine the presence of flat warts, traces of epithelial growth and the presence of a tumor of the cervical canal. This is easy to do: the neoplasm is treated with an acetic solution, and if the blood vessels that feed it feel a spasm, then the affected area becomes white.
The second stage of the examination is the analysis of venous blood by the polymerase chain reaction method. This study helps to determine the type of virus, its oncogenicity and the main location. In parallel, the patient is checked for the presence of HIV infection, syphilis and other sexually transmitted, infectious diseases of the genitourinary system. If cervical cancer is suspected, a biopsy is indicated, a separate diagnosis of the urethra in men and an examination of the mucous membrane of the rectum are performed separately.
Features of the fight against the disease
Human papillomavirus is an incurable disease. Its cells are embedded in the structures of the human DNA chain, so it is impossible to get rid of it. The only way to prevent the severe consequences of the pathology is to stop the virus and carry out aesthetic treatment.
Thus, the treatment of genital warts involves their removal by plastic surgery, due to which the affected organs take on a healthy anatomical appearance. In addition to surgical treatment, a number of measures will be required to strengthen the immune system, which will help prevent the activation of pathogenic cells. You can do this in several ways:
- taking immunomodulatory drugs: vitamin and mineral complexes, special dietary supplements, etc.;
- giving up bad habits: smoking, alcohol abuse, narcotic substances cause irreparable harm to the body’s defenses, giving impetus to the development of many pathologies;
- a complete, balanced diet;
- diets, starvation, lack of useful products provoke beriberi, deficiency of micro and macro elements, that is, suppression of immunity;
- maintaining an active lifestyle: sports activities, exercise, cycling, swimming, etc.;
- hardening procedures.
Neoplasms can be removed in several ways. The most common is surgical, that is, with the help of excision with a scalpel.
Safer and more effective methods involve the use of chemical reagents, under the influence of which warts are destroyed at the cellular level, dry out and fall off.
The next technique is the impact of electric current. Today it is the most affordable procedure, which is carried out by almost all clinics. But this method has significant drawbacks: it is very painful and threatens with the appearance of scars. With cryodestruction , condylomas are frozen with liquid nitrogen, after which they die, leaving no unpleasant cosmetic defects at the site of their formation.
Another popular removal method is radio wave surgery. The effectiveness of the method is very high, the patient does not experience pain, the epithelium recovers very quickly, without forming scars. But the method is quite expensive, so not every clinic is ready to provide such a service. With laser removal of warts, the likelihood that they will return again is no more than five percent.
IMPORTANT! Removal of neoplasms is only part of the treatment. No method of exposure gives a 100% guarantee of the absence of relapse.
Medical and folk methods
Topical medications (usually ointments) used for condylomatosis are usually aimed at slowing down the division of virus cells and stopping its ability to further infection. The choice of such a drug, as well as the appropriateness of the use, is determined by the attending physician.
It is strictly forbidden to use such medical products on your own, as they can provoke the opposite effect: increased growth of cells in the formations and their rapid transition to a malignant form.
Many people try to treat warts on their own, at home, with the help of traditional medicine recipes. Such methods are extremely unsafe, because they threaten with complications, are quite painful and are not always effective. To remove growths at home, iodine, apple cider vinegar, and garlic are usually used. Why is this treatment dangerous? In addition to burning nearby tissues, it is possible to cause damage to healthy epithelium and the transition of the disease into a cancerous tumor.
In recent years, HPV vaccination has become popular. The opinion of doctors on this issue is ambiguous: some support patients in their desire to be vaccinated, others are categorically against it. Statistics cite the arguments of the latter: more than half of the people after vaccination still became infected with dangerous viruses.
The vaccine has a limited effect – no more than eight years, and it is effective against only two types of the virus. There are also side reactions of vaccination: disruption of the ovaries, inflammation of the uterine cavity, hormonal imbalance, infertility.
The only way to avoid the consequences of a dangerous pathology is to take all measures to prevent infection. This is the only way to be sure that a dangerous virus will never cause serious illness.