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Overview

HPV: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus cause infection in many people who experience sex at a very early age or have sex with a partner having many partners or have many sex partners and it often gets cleared up without any treatment, without making people fall sick. There are 100 different types of HPV and most of them do not cause serious health issue. In case they persist and cause problems like genital warts, leading to cancer or even precancerous changes, then the symptoms might require treatment. Women may be prescribed to take some tests like Pap test to do a follow up of the affected cells. The analysis tests the presence of there are abnormal changes in the cells due to HPV infection, it could lead to cervical cancer which will need treatment or cervical dysplasia which is a precancerous cell change or another cell defect called cervical entraepitheial neoplasis, both of which get healed on their own. For treatment of these abnormal cells some methods like conisation, laser therapy, loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) or cryotherapy are used on people. If the infection by HPV type 6 and 11 causes some raised or flat growths on your scrotum or cervix or thigh or groin or on the penis or anus, they are called genital warts and can be treated using Podofilox or Imiquimod cream or Podophylin and trichloroacetic acid, surgical removal.

How is the treatment done?

Only if HPV causes genital warts or cancer in the cervix or anus or penis of individuals, appropriate treatment would be required. To treat genital warts medications like podofilox, podophylin, imiquimod and trichloroacetic acid can be used. Surgical interventions like cryotherapy would involve freezing of the virus infected cells with liquid nitrogen thereby inhibiting their functions by forming a blister around the warts, burning the abnormal cells with electric current, surgical removal of the cells with the help of a scalpel, laser therapy to remove infected cells using intense light rays and LEEP technique is used wherein the abnormal cells are discarded with an electric current. Imiquimod (Zyclara, Aldara) works by boosting up the immune system helping to fight the HPV, podofilox and podophyllin simply destroy the genital wart tissues. In case of cervical cancer also, if the cells are present only on the upper layers and have not migrated into the deeper layers the same surgical treatments can be applied as in case of genital warts. Only if the cancer recurs after other treatments, simple hysterectomy is carried out. Radiation therapy like high dose X-rays is also used to destroy cancer cells, chemotherapy is a common treatment for getting rid of cancer cells. HPV can also cause penile cancer in some men and the treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and biologic therapy. Surgery can be performed by cutting the tumor from the skin in thin layers using a microscope or by using laser beam to cut the lesions, circumcision that removes the affected foreskin of the penis or even by amputating partial or the whole penis. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or may be other types of rays to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, chemotherapy uses drugs to kill or stop the cancer cells form growing.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Treatment can be given to patients only with visible warts eliminating as many lesions as possible. HIV positive patients or immunosuppressed patients require other treatment methods too for complete eradication. Pregnant women with HPV infection are also eligible for treatment using keratolytics and cryotherapy, even surgical excisions in some.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People who do not have visible genital warts are of course not eligible for the respective treatment. If there is presence of mucosal human papillomavirus (HPV) or subclinical anogenital HPV, but there is no co-existence of dysplasia, then treatment cannot be recommended. This is because the latent virus present in the healthy skin beside the lesion may get activated by the treatment causing the condition to recur. Pregnant women cannot be treated with medications like podophyllin, 5-flurouracil and interferon.

Are there any side effects?

There are side-effects of medication and surgery of genital warts. Application of Imiquimod (Aldara) causes redness of the skin along with blisters, body aches, fatigue, rashes and cough. Sinecatechins (Veregan) have side effects on the skin causing reddening, burning, pain and itching. Podophyllin and podofilox can cause mild skin irritation, aches and sores. Also, if too much of the ointment is used or is not let air dried, it could spread to other areas and thereby cause side effects. Laser treatment can cause swelling, itching or pain in the affected area, sores in the treated area, scarring and shedding of tissues, discharge from vagina or penis and even tissues that stick together. Post-surgery you can expect a fever, a severe pain or bleeding continuing for about a week or a foul smell with a yellow discharge thereby giving rise to an infection.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Once your warts are treated you need to develop a few good habits to avoid their come back. The foremost step is to maintain proper hygiene, keep the area clean and avoid scratching it. If the area feels swollen or if it hurts then a cold pack may soothe it or over-the-counter medicine can also be taken. You should also wash your hands each time you touch your genital warts and lastly avoid sex if you feel uncomfortable and till they are completely gone. Women must regularly go for Pap tests and should be checked whether vaccine has been taken or not.

How long does it take to recover?

It takes about several weeks to months or even year to completely recover and totally get rid of the warts but they may also relapse which occurs more often. Some people can never get cleared of them in their life. The cancer also takes years to heal completely.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The normal consultation fees for treatment of genital warts ranges between Rs.200 to Rs.2000. The treatment involves certain tests like PAP Test and HPV Test wherein PAP Test is charged somewhere around Rs. 200 to Rs. 1,500 and the HPV Test cost around Rs.2,000. 12.5 mg of Imiquimod cream cost around Rs. 268. Cost of Cervical cancer treatment ranges between about Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results for genital warts treatment are usually not permanent and have more than 50% chance of getting relapsed. Cervical and penile cancer treatments are generally permanent. But, as the virus cannot be eradicated easily, the condition can prevail.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

If the symptoms of your HPV or the genital warts are not very prominent and do not cause you much discomfort it is not necessary to get a treatment done. You can maintain simple hygiene, abstain from sexual contact, always use barrier protection like condoms while sex, wash hands every time you touch the warts and avoid rubbing the affected area.

Safety: Medium Effectiveness: Medium Timeliness: Medium Relative Risk: Medium Side Effects: Medium Time For Recovery: Medium Price Range:

Rs. 300 to Rs.10,000

Popular Health Tips

HPV During Pregnancy - How Does It Affect You?

Dr. Sumati Saxena 89% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
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HPV During Pregnancy - How Does It Affect You?
Human Papillomavirus is a disease caused by the sexually transmitted virus leading to cervical cancer and genital warts. It is estimated that as many as ten million people fall prey to this disease every year. While there are more than 100 varieties of HPV, there are close to 30 viruses that spread through sexual transmission. There are many Human Papillomaviruses that can affect the ability of a woman s ability to get pregnant. There are viruses that can affect pregnancy as well. It is, therefore, important to understand the impact of Human Papillomavirus during pregnancy. How does HPV affect a person during pregnancy? It is not very difficult to get pregnant with Human Papillomavirus. However, there is an increased risk of the disease getting passed to the partner. A doctor should be consulted before conceiving. If a person is already suffering from HPV, she has a rising estrogen level that could make genital warts become larger bleed or even multiply very quickly. Since there is a greater tendency of infection and bleeding, doctors often recommend not to remove warts during pregnancy. If a person is suffering from HPV without any symptoms, the chances of pregnancy getting compromised are less likely. How could HPV affect the baby? For the most part, HPV doesn t affect the baby, or the infection gets passed on. If a mother has active genital warts, there are possibilities of transmitting the infection to the baby. In this case, the baby might end up getting a wart on the throat leading to problems in breathing. Genital warts can also lead to blockage of the birth canal. In case of a mother suffering from active genital warts, most doctors prescribe cesarean delivery to safeguard baby s health. There is no such treatment that can make warts go away. All a medical professional is left with is to monitor the outbreak of warts in the mother and the baby. How does a pregnant lady know that she is suffering from HPV? Genital warts are the most common symptoms of this condition. Warts might cause pain along with itchiness. In appearance, warts might occur as flat lesions, small bumps, and finger-like projections. It might appear on the cervix, vulva, vagina or surrounding areas of the anus. There are cases where there could be no symptoms at all. However, if warts are felt on any parts of the body, it is wise to consult a medical professional for further help. A doctor performs a pap smear to collect the cells of the cervix and decide whether a person is suffering from HPV. Treatments related to this condition revolve around the removal strategies of warts.
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Human papillomavirus(HPV) is considered a sexually transmitted infection that can be passed by skin, mouth and genital contact. It is one of very few infections that can, over time, lead to cancer. There are many different types(or strains); most are not linked to cancer. Cancer strains can cause differnet types of cancer, but most people with these HPV strains will never develop any kind of HPV associated cancer. In females, Cervical and in males, penile cancer can occur due to cancer causing strains. Unlike with cervical cancer, not all cases of penile,anal,or oral cancers are due to HPV. There are vaccines available to prevent HPV Infections, mainly for cancer causing strains and also for genital warts(6,8 strain). Vaccine is indicated at present in females 9 to 45 years of age, though males shall benefit also from vaccine. it is given at 0 and 2 months for age below 14 years of age and at 0, 2 and 6 months above 14 years of age( Quadrivalent Vaccine).
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HPV or human papillomavirus is a strain of viral infection that is usually passed through skin to skin contact. There are many varieties of HPV although the main focus is one the ones which are usually transmitted through sexual contact. Most sexually active people are infected by this disease although very few develop the full fledged symptoms. Symptoms of HPV-- Primary symptoms of HPV are the growth of warts on your body in various stages or in various areas. Some of them are: Typical common warts - The easiest way to spot an HPV infection is the development of common warts on any parts of the body. They could appear on elbows, hands, feet and fingers. These look like bumps on the skin ad although they aren't usually are painful, itchy but unsightly. Flat warts - Flat warts tend to be small smooth bumps which are slightly raised skin lesions on the body which can be a little darker in colour. Men usually get this in the beard and face area while women tend to get this on their legs. Plantar warts - These warts usually grow on the heels or the balls of the feet and are hard grainy growths. These can be painful and even cause discomfort while walking. Genital warts - This is one of the most obvious and most common symptoms of HPV, especially in the variety which is transmitted through sexual contact. These usually look like small bumps or protrusions on the skin and can be of different shapes. Women can have this on the vulva, vagina or even cervix and men can have this on the penis, scrotum, and adjacent areas. Both men and women can have this on their anus as well. Causes of HPV-- The primary cause of HPV infections is the intrusion of the virus in your skin through small cuts or abrasions on your skin. Skin to skin contact with an infected person will transfer this to you. However, genital warts are usually transferred from skin to during sexual contact. Even oral sex can transmit HPV and cause lesions in the upper respiratory tract and cause breathing problems as well. Most warts can also be transferred with the contact or touching the wart directly and thus should be avoided.
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PAP SMEAR AND VACCINATION PROTECTION AGAINST CERVICAL CANCER 1. PAP SMEAR- Pap smear screening should start at age 21. it should be done at regular intervals to detect any abnormal cell growth which can turn out be cancerous. 2. VACCINE -is available to protect against the HPV types that cause most cervical cancer in women. The vaccine is: Given as a series of 2 shots.Recommended for girls and women ages 9 through 26.Best for girls to get by age 11 or before becoming sexually active. However, girls and younger women who are already sexually active can still be protected by the vaccine. SAFE SEXUAL HABBITS : 1) Always use condoms. 2) Avoid multiple sex partners 3) Do not smoke. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of getting cervical cancer.
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Dr. Nutan Hegde 90% (144 ratings)
MBBS, DGO, MRCOG
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Popular Questions & Answers

Request you to share the knowledge on HPV vaccination, I am 25 years old, and is it advisable to take that vaccination? If so ,three doses or ?Please also share the vaccination cost. Thank you in advance.

Dr. Priyanka Singh 89% (89 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Obs and Gynae, DNB -Obs & Gynae, MRCOG, Fellowship In Uro Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
There are 2 types of HPV vaccines- Cervarix and Gardasil. Cervarix prevents infection from HPV 16 and 18 which cause 70% of cervical cancers whereas Gardasil prevents infection from HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11. HPV 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts which are also sexually transmitted. These vaccines should ideally be taken by girls between 9 to 13 years of age, but can be taken up to 26 yrs. Best if taken before the girl becomes sexually active, as she might have already acquired the virus if vaccine is taken after start of sexual activity. Three doses are given at 0, 1 and 6 months intramuscularly. The cost per dose for Gardasil is Rs. 3000 and for Cervarix is Rs. 2190 in India. Pap smears for screening of cervical cancer should be done routinely at 3 years intervals even in women who have been vaccinated.

Hello Doctor, My friend done HPV test and it is positive. Earlier (about 20 days before) she was suffering with a vaginal cyst and doctor did a immediate operation of this. Can you please tell me that if this virus is present in the body that is 100% cervical cancer or it may be any other reasons also to present this virus.

Dr. Ashwini Talpe 93% (3456 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Obstetrics & Gynecology, Fellowship in Infertility (IVF Specialist)
Gynaecologist, Aurangabad
hi if HPV is positive then you need to monitor 6-12monthly for cervical cancer, if HPV is positive then it doesn't mean that it is 100% risk of cervical cancer. it depends upon strain of HPV and associate risk factors.

Hi I am 24 years old male. I have a skin tag kind near my pubic area at the end of penis area. I am worried because it looks like HPV infection and genital wart. Color has never changed. Its of same color. It arrived around 1.6 years back and it does not pain. I am worried please answer me quickly.

Dr. Rajesh Tewari 91% (4868 ratings)
Diploma in Paediatrics, MBBS
Sexologist, Dehradun
genital wart usually multiply so it it is still single it should be a skin tag. consult a skin specialist for electrocautery
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