Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common diseases on Earth. This is due to the high contagiousness (contagiousness) of human papillomavirus infection. There are two ways of transmitting HPV: contact-household and sexual.
Papillomavirus has a large number of varieties (strains), each of which is assigned its own serial number. Today, scientists isolate about a hundred strains of HPV, some of which are highly oncogenic (provoking the transformation of neoplastic cells into an oncological tumor).
There are two phases of an infectious disease:
- Asymptomatic (incubation) period. It takes from several months to ten years. At this time, the patient has no symptoms and the detection of the virus is possible when undergoing a physical examination or treating other diseases;
- Active stage. Under the influence of additional factors (weakening of immunity, exacerbation of chronic diseases, emotional or physical overfatigue), the cells of the virus begin to invade the DNA of epithelial tissues, provoking their rapid growth. As a result of such viral activity, growths on the body, called papillomas, are formed.
Papillomavirus infection does not always lead to the development of the disease. According to statistics, only 30% of carriers, the virus goes into the active phase.
The danger of papillomavirus for women
The main danger in gynecology is the risk of malignancy of neoplasms, which can lead to dysplasia, adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix.
The following factors increase the risk of malignancy:
- Long-term use of hormonal oral contraceptives;
- Entry into sexual life at a young age;
- Uncontrolled change of sexual partners;
- Constant diets and unbalanced nutrition;
- Low level of immune defense provoked by persistent viral diseases (sinusitis, tonsillitis, flu);
- Disruption of the endocrine system;
- The presence of untreated STDs (sexually transmitted diseases);
- Abortion or difficult birth;
- Bad habits – smoking, drinking strong alcohol;
- Bearing a child;
- Sudden changes in hormone levels;
- Excess weight;
It is impossible to completely prevent infection with papillomavirus. High contagiousness and a common way of infection increase the risk of developing the disease. The virus can be transmitted in the pool, nail salon, hairdresser.
The presence of HPV cells in the blood is not a cause for concern. In the absence of neoplasms, the virus carrier cannot infect its sexual partner.
If the gynecologist found genital warts, it is too early to think about their oncogenicity. To confirm the diagnosis, you will need to undergo a series of studies to help determine the strain of human papillomavirus infection.
Features of the course of the disease in women
In gynecology, the human papillomavirus in women is considered a dangerous disease, as it provokes the development of oncological tumors. For example, dysplasia, adenocarcinoma, squamous cervical cancer. Medical statistics are inexorable – in all cases of diagnosing uterine cancer, the presence of an oncogenic strain in the human papillomavirus is detected.
HPV is present in the body of twenty percent of women, but most of them are unaware of infection. The most dangerous consequence of HPV infection is a change in the epithelial tissues of the cervical canal.
To confirm infection with human papillomavirus infection in gynecology, there are such clinical research methods:
- Primary gynecological examination;
- PCR analysis (polymerase chain reaction);
- Cytological examination (analysis of a smear from the cervical canal);
- Digene test
Symptoms of HPV in gynecology
Gynecologists fix such external manifestations of papillomavirus infection:
- Genital warts;
- Simple papillomas;
- Fusion of genital warts;
- Flat condylomatosis of the cervix uteri – dysplasia;
- Cervical cancer.
They are growths similar to papillae. They attack the mucous membranes of the vagina, the labia minora, and the cervical canal. Diagnose single condylomas and multiple rashes. Outwardly, they are practically not noticeable. Typically, a woman notices only small tubercles during hygiene procedures.
Usually localized on the skin and inguinal folds. They may disappear on their own, and then reappear. This is due to the viral nature of the neoplasm.
Fusion of genital warts
Genital warts can combine to form one large neoplasm. It resembles a soft cockscomb. Such growths are easily confused with the manifestation of other genital infections or HIV. Therefore, special equipment, for example, a colposcope, is used for diagnosis.
Dysplasia is one of the most common and dangerous diseases caused by human papillomavirus infection. HPV is easier to treat in the active stage, but dysplasia or flat condylomas are a manifestation of a chronic infection.
Diagnosing dysplasia is very difficult. A simple gynecological examination is not enough for this. And making the right diagnosis is very important. Since there is only one treatment for dysplasia – surgical removal. Therefore, a biopsy and histological examination can not be done.
This is the most common cancer in gynecology after breast cancer. Unfortunately, adenocarcinoma is often diagnosed in the later stages. And the reason for this is the neglect of a routine inspection. So, advanced colposcopy and cytological examination are shown to all women older than thirty-five years at least once a year. If oncology is suspected, a histological analysis is additionally prescribed.
Papillomavirus infection and pregnancy
Identification in a woman who is expecting a baby, papillomavirus infection is not dangerous for the unborn child and the development of pregnancy. The only problem that a pregnant woman may encounter is vaginal discharge, which becomes much larger and accelerated growth of genital papillomas. The main thing is to keep calm. The development of human papillomavirus infection occurs in different ways for everyone, and additional stress will not benefit either mom or baby.
Of course, there is a risk of infection of the baby during childbirth. However, this is highly unlikely. In most cases, the baby’s body can cope with the infection on its own.
If the patient learns about the presence of HPV in the body at the time of pregnancy planning, a course of treatment should be taken to completely eliminate the risk of infection of the unborn baby.
Therapy of papillomavirus in women
Proceed with therapy immediately after diagnosis. The first thing you need is to strengthen the body's defenses, since the spread of papillomavirus occurs against a background of weakened immunity.
All HPV treatment methods can be divided into two categories:
- Conservative therapy;
- Surgical intervention.
Conservative therapy involves the use of antiviral and immunomodulating agents. In the early stages of the disease, conservative treatment may be sufficient. With the development of dysplasia or cancer, conservative treatment is carried out as the first stage of therapy. The treatment regimen is prescribed by a gynecologist, together with an immunologist and a dermatologist. The treatment regimen is selected individually, taking into account the patient's medical history.
With the growth of tumors, their removal is indicated. In the medical center, the patient can be offered the following methods of radical disposal of genital warts:
- Chemical coagulation. The use of drugs containing alkali or acid;
- Cryodestruction – freezing out growths with liquid nitrogen;
- Electrocoagulation – burning of neoplasms by high-frequency electric current;
- Laser destruction. Evaporation of papilloma tissue using a laser beam;
- Radiosurgical exposure – an innovative non-contact painless method of exposure to radio waves on education;
- Surgery. The most traumatic method. It is used in the treatment of severe dysplasia or cancer formation.
Therefore, after surgery, a woman should monitor the state of health. To do this, you should visit a gynecologist every three months.
According to statistics, about 80% of women become infected with papillomavirus within two years after the onset of sexual activity. Every fifth is infected even with a regular partner. Therefore, all women of childbearing age are shown preventive examinations by a gynecologist, as well as cytology studies at least once a year.
Recently, a vaccine against papillomavirus infection is gaining popularity. However, its effect on the female body is not fully understood and causes debate among scientists.