HPV is one of the most common viruses and is responsible for causing diseases in about 50% of sexually active individuals. About 80 % of the women around the world get HPV at some point in their life. HPV is spread by skin on skin contact, generally vaginal, oral or anal sex.
HPV infections are self-limiting and usually resolve within a period of 1-2 years. The person may not even be aware that they had contracted an infection.
HPV in women is responsible for the following clinical conditions:
- Genital warts
- Premalignant conditions, i.e. cervical dysplasia
- Malignant conditions, i.e. cervical cancer
Genital warts appear as papules near vagina, cervix, vulva, or anus. These warts are visible to the naked eye and can be easily detected by a visual examination. They are itchy, painless, pink papules and may appear as cauliflower-like growths. The growths could be flat or raised and can appear as solitary growths or even in groups.
Precancerous lesions may also occur in the female genital tract. These may become cancerous as the cell abnormalities continue to increase. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer and HPV is the primary risk factor. However, it should be kept in mind that HPV in women only rarely leads to cervical cancer.
HPV in women can be detected by two screening tests for cancer. These are:
- Pap smear
- HPV test
Every woman should have her Pap smear done within three years of becoming sexually active and no later than the age of 211. The Pap test detects the earliest cellular dysplastic changes and this timely detection has lead to reduction in the progression to cancers. A Pap smear must be repeated every one to two years after the first Pap test. An abnormal Pap smear can be followed by the HPV test. The HPV test is not widely accessible and is advised only for women over 30 years or for women who are over 21 years old and have had an abnormal Pap result.
Avoiding smoking and multiple sexual partners can be helpful to protect one’s self from HPV. A healthy immune system can help get rid of the virus. Papillex, is a compound that contains phytoceutical nutrients that have been shown to support beneficial results with respect to HPV. It nutritionally supports the immune system which will help the body to better respond to genital warts, cervical dysplasia and other HPV-related disorders naturally.