The human papillomavirus is an extensive group of viruses that prefer to live and multiply in the cells of epithelial tissues. Scientists have identified and studied more than 150 types of HPV. They act on the body in different ways. Some do not cause any painful manifestations, and from others on the skin a variety of warts and other neoplasms grow.
Separately, virus groups are identified that pose a danger to human life and health. It is proved that HPV types 16 and 18 are highly oncogenous, that is, they can provoke malignant tissue degeneration. Some other types also have an increased risk of degeneration, but these two are the greatest, and they are more common than the others (31, 33, 35, 45, 66, etc.).
Symptoms of papillomavirus infection
Papillomavirus equally affects both men and women, while it is easily transmitted by contact and sexually. Just HPV types 16 and 18 usually affect the genital area. Different transmission methods are possible: with vaginal sex, oral or anal. The virus can multiply on the skin and mucous membranes, leading to the appearance of genital warts – genital warts, papules (flat formations of red-brown color). In women, HPV also affects the cervix, causing neoplasia, and eventually cancer.
Neoplasms on the skin may look like small spiky growths of flesh or reddish color. As they grow, they merge with each other, resembling corals or cauliflower.
Possible places for the appearance of neoplasms:
- External genitalia (vulva, penis);
- Inguinal and perianal region;
- Vagina and cervix.
From this list it is clear that the HPV lesion may not be visible from the outside, which increases the risk of infection. Therefore, papillomavirus is so widespread. However, some signs should alert and make you think about going to the doctor:
- Difficulty urinating;
- Itching or soreness in the rectum;
- Blood excretion and pain during bowel movements.
Risks for Men's Health
Why is HPV type 18 and 16 dangerous for men? The cancer risk for them is noticeably lower than for women, but still there. Malignant tumors caused by HPV can neigh the penis, anal region and rectum, prostate gland, occasionally the mouth and larynx, brain, and lungs. Fortunately, a precancerous condition and cancer are possible only with the long-term presence of altered tissues.
If the immune system, having encountered a virus, successfully suppressed its activity, then we are talking about a transient infection. The causative agent is in the body for a short time and does not have time to cause damage to health. Such a course is characteristic of young and healthy men. Moreover, the oncogenicity of the virus is not important – it goes into an inactive state and no longer manifests itself.
In those cases when the body is weakened, and the immune system works worse, the virus causes numerous neoplasms, which, as already noted, can greatly complicate life and cause psychological complexes. They require surgical removal, and the human body requires restoration of the normal functioning of the immune system.
If you do not treat the warts and fight the virus, several different outcomes are possible:
- The formations themselves will disappear with time. Such a result is unlikely, but sometimes it happens. More often, again, in young and healthy men, and if the changes are few.
- The formations will remain unchanged, creating an aesthetically unpleasant appearance, at the risk of being damaged by shaving, wearing tight clothing, wiping with a towel, etc.
- The formations will increase in number and size, interfering with normal life and creating potentially hazardous situations (narrowing and even complete obstruction of the urethra, pain in the bladder or rectum, bleeding).
- Formations will degenerate into a malignant form and cause cancer.
The growths that appear on the skin and mucous membranes become repositories of the virus, from where it can spread further, increasing the viral load on the body. That is why they need to be removed as soon as possible.
A virus that enters the body does not always cause a disease. It all depends on the state of immunity and overall health. The following factors increase the likelihood of genital warts and papillomas in men:
- Severe hypothermia, seasonal decrease in immunity;
- Malnutrition, vitamin deficiency;
- Stress and overwork;
- Alcohol abuse, drug use;
- Immunosuppressive therapy;
- Taking some medications
- Infection with HIV, herpes virus and other genital infections;
- Frequent change and a large number of sexual partners;
- Anal sex with an infected partner (the virus most easily penetrates through microscopic damage to the mucous membrane).
Diagnosis of HPV high oncogenic risk
A reliable way to detect the virus in the body is through PCR diagnostics – polymerase chain reaction. This analysis allows you to identify the DNA of the virus and conduct genotyping to determine its type. Sometimes another analysis is needed – quantitative, which makes it possible to detect the concentration of the virus.
Another similar method that private clinics offer today is a digital test. It is also highly informative, but costs more than PCR. But the digest test makes it possible to immediately identify the type of virus and its concentration in the body. This allows you to conduct one study instead of two.
To take any of these tests, you need to study the biomaterial that is obtained from a man by taking scraping of epithelial cells. As a rule, from the urethra. A variant of the fence with the oral mucosa and anal passage. In the presence of visible warts, scraping is taken from their surface.
In some cases (private clinics in large cities) they suggest donating biological fluids (semen or urine). This may be necessary to clarify the diagnosis when deep neoplasms are suspected.
To pass the analysis, you must consult a urologist or dermatovenerologist in a public or private clinic. The scraping procedure is not very pleasant, but lasts only a few seconds.
To pass biomaterial from the urethra correctly, you need not to urinate for two to three hours before analysis. Scraping is taken with a thin probe, and the resulting cells are placed in a special tube.
If highly oncogenic types of HPV are detected in the body, it is necessary to treat its manifestations, and the sexual partner should undergo a diagnosis and, if HPV is detected, also take measures to exclude overrefection.
Sometimes a biopsy of skin lesions is additionally done. For example, if they look atypical, and you need to make sure that this is not a syphilitic or other infection. The resulting samples are examined under a microscope. The action of the papilloma virus is evidenced by the appearance of specifically altered cells – coil cells.
The biopsy procedure is simple, performed under local anesthesia and does not give complications.
It is worth emphasizing that the papilloma virus itself cannot be eliminated from the body. All methods of treatment are aimed at its indirect suppression, restoration of the normal functioning of the immune system and the elimination of emerging skin formations.
The following methods are used to remove genital warts and papillomas:
- Cryodestruction with liquid nitrogen;
- Radio wave destruction;
- Laser destruction;
- Removal using chemicals.
All these methods are quite effective, the choice is made by the doctor based on the results of the examination and the equipment available.
It is highly recommended not to use folk methods and remove formations at home. This is fraught with injury and chemical burns. In addition, without analysis it is impossible to unambiguously determine the nature of the neoplasms, so the consequences can be even more sad.
As already mentioned, treatment for HPV must be comprehensive. For this, antiviral and immunomodulating therapy is used.
Such drugs as Isoprinosin, Grosprinosin, Imiquimod, Panavir and others help suppress the papilloma virus. Various means based on interferon (injections, tablets, suppositories, ointments) are prescribed as immunomodulators.
In addition, the attending physician may recommend a vitamin-mineral complex and herbal remedies (tincture of echinacea, ginseng, lemongrass, rosehip) to increase the body's defenses.