Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are a group of related viruses. They can cause warts on different parts of the body. There are more than 200 types. About 40 of them affect the genitals. These are spread through sexual contact with an infected person. They can also be spread through other intimate skin-to-skin contact. Some of them can put you at risk of developing cancer.
There are two categories of sexually transmitted HPV:
- Low-risk HPV can cause warts on or around the genitals , anus, mouth, or throat.
- High-risk HPV can cause several types of cancer:
- Cervical cancer
- cancer of the anus
- Some types of mouth and throat cancer
- vulvar cancer
- vaginal cancer
- penile cancer
Although most HPV infections go away on their own and do not cause cancer, sometimes they last longer and are more damaging. When a high-risk HPV infection lasts for many years, it can lead to cell changes that, if left untreated, can worsen over time and develop into cancer.
Who is at risk of getting HPV infections?
HPV infections are very common. So, unfortunately, all sexually active people are at risk of becoming infected with HPV after they start their sexual life.
What are the symptoms of HPV infections?
The most visible symptom is the warts that some people develop from getting certain low-risk HPV infections, but the other types (including high-risk ones) have no symptoms.
If a high-risk HPV infection lasts for many years and causes cell changes, you may have symptoms. You may also have symptoms if these cell changes turn into cancer. Your possible symptoms will depend on the part of the body affected.
That's why it's super important that you don't miss your regular appointment with the gynecologist, even if you feel fine!
How do I know if I have HPV?
It is your doctor who will make the indicated physical evaluation and will carry out the respective studies to verify your state of health. And if you notice small warts on your genitals you should go immediately.
The good news is that for women, there are cervical cancer screening tests that can find cervical changes that can turn into cancer. As part of the evaluation, women may have Pap tests, HPV tests, or both.
Is there a cure for HPV?
An HPV infection itself cannot be treated. However, there are medications that the doctor will apply to the warts to remove, burn, or surgically remove them.
There are treatments for cell changes caused by high-risk HPV infection. They include medications that are applied to the affected area and various surgical procedures.
In general, people with HPV-related cancer receive the same types of treatment as those with non-HPV cancers.
An exception to this is people with certain types of mouth and throat cancer, who may have different treatment options.
How to avoid HPV infections?
The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. But since that is not the option we always choose, it is important that you take care of yourself.
There are vaccines that can protect us against several types of HPV and that give us the most protection when given before being exposed to the virus. For this reason, the doctors' recommendation is to apply this vaccine just at the moment when women become sexually active.
The other great ally against HPV is the correct use of latex condoms , which greatly reduce the risk, BEWARE! although it does not completely eliminate the chances of getting or spreading HPV.
Taking care of yourself is vital!
As you have been able to observe, it is in your hands to avoid becoming infected with HPV, although having a stable partner lowers the risk, you never know 100% if the partner has had sexual contact with someone infected with the virus. Preventing is better than sorry! Seek medical advice to get vaccinated and use a condom if you change partners frequently. It is the minimum to get away from this virus and other sexually transmitted diseases.
At #TuSaludIntima we always promote that women and couples live a healthy sexuality throughout their lives and to achieve this, protection is important. You have in your hands the responsibility of having safe sex, avoiding getting HPV and visiting the gynecologist regularly, because the worst scenario is not being diagnosed on time and dealing with a cancer that could have been avoided.
Remember that you can always find the #Zenzsual intimate gel on our #TuSaludIntima website to hydrate your genitals daily and use it during your intimate relationships. In addition to the #Zenzsual cleansing foam and the nutritional supplement to revive the desire #LibiZens (for them and for them). And don't forget to strengthen your pelvic floor by performing your Kegel exercises daily with the #VagiYoga vaginal trainer .