HPV is mainly spread through direct skin-skin and mucosal-mucosal contact. Sexual contact is the most common but not mandatory. After touching objects with HPV on the hands, it is possible to carry the virus into the reproductive organs and cause infection when going to the toilet or bathing. Reproductive organs may also be infected if they come into contact with items such as bath towels with HPV. Therefore, HPV infection has nothing to do with the so-called “private life is too messy”.
Checker: Wang Qing | Chief Physician, Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University, Deputy Director of Cervical Disease Diagnosis and Treatment Center
Since studies have found that HPV is closely related to the occurrence and development of cervical cancer, HPV has become a “crossing mouse, everyone shouts and beats.” I have backache and abdominal distension, I blame HPV; I have abnormal leucorrhea, I blame HPV; I have infertility, blame HPV; I have irregular menstruation, I still blame HPV. As if HPV is a super virus, it can bring countless discomfort and pain.
As a result, various scenes about “poison” appeared:
Even if young women are vaccinated with the HPV vaccine, they are still frightened and afraid of things beyond the protection of the vaccine; young women of childbearing age are entangled in the issues of why they are infected, how long they can be cleared, whether they can have children, etc., and even doubt their own lives. ; Middle-aged and elderly women are even more crazy about this. They always feel that they have some incurable disease and become the most pitiful person in the world. While unable to do anything, they do not forget to complain about their husbands.
However, is HPV really as scary as a scourge? But in fact, it’s not.
- What is HPV?
HPV is short for Human Papillomavirus. More than 120 HPV subtypes have been identified, of which more than 40 can infect the mucosa of the reproductive tract. According to the pathogenicity, HPV can be divided into low-risk type and high-risk type. Low-risk types (such as HPV types 6, 11, etc.) can cause benign lesions such as condyloma acuminatum and flat condyloma; high-risk types of HPV (such as types 16, 18, 31, etc.) can not only cause precancerous lesions, but also induce cancer. The most common types 16 and 18 cause about 70% of cervical cancers?
Some studies have shown that 60%-70% of women who have sex have had HPV infection in their lifetime, but most women clear it within 1-2 years. It should be noted that the natural clearance rate of HPV infection is related to age. The natural clearance rate of HPV in women younger than 30 years is 91% within 2 years, and the natural clearance rate of HPV in women older than 30 years is 79% within 2 years. When HPV infection cannot be cleared within a short period of time, it enters the stage of persistent infection, and the proportion of women with persistent infection increases with age. It takes about 8-12 years for persistent infection to develop into cervical cancer. So don’t be too alarmed when you discover HPV infection.
- How is HPV transmitted?
HPV is mainly spread through direct skin-skin, mucosal-mucosal contact. Sexual contact is the most common, but not required. In fact, in many cases, there is no clear reason. For example, after touching items with HPV, the virus may be carried into the reproductive organs when going to the toilet or bathing; or the reproductive organs may come into contact with items such as bath towels with HPV. All may be infected.
Many people wonder if there is a problem with their style of life? Or is your partner’s private life too unruly? There is really no need to worry about these. In addition, HPV is not as tenacious as you might think. It is still possible to swim in a pool that has been properly disinfected in a hot spring with hot bubbles.
- Are there symptoms of HPV infection?
The incubation period of symptoms after HPV infection is not the same and varies greatly in different situations. Genital warts usually appear several months after infection, but it takes more than ten years for a persistent cervical HPV infection to develop into cervical cancer. Related symptoms may appear after cervical lesions are caused, such as irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, and peculiar smell of secretions. Despite this, most HPV infections are asymptomatic and just happen to be discovered during the HPV test.
- Does HPV infection affect pregnancy?
If it is a simple HPV infection, and cervical lesions are ruled out, it is possible to get pregnant. If the examination reveals cervical precancerous lesions, it is still recommended to go to a regular hospital for treatment before pregnancy. Maternal HPV infection will not affect fetal development during pregnancy and will not cause teratogenicity. HPV infection should not be used as an indication for cesarean section.
- Can HPV infection be treated?
Many people with HPV infection are extremely anxious. They are frantically looking for ways to treat HPV infection. Anti-HPV proteins, antibodies, gels, Chinese patent medicines, and even physical therapy have also emerged. The various treatment methods allow patients to gradually get lost in choice and choice, entanglement and entanglement. At present, there is no specific medicine for HPV treatment, so don’t waste money.
HPV infection does not mean that you have cervical cancer. Only people with weakened immune systems who are continuously infected with HPV will increase the risk of cervical cancer. If a formal examination confirms the presence of cervical precancerous lesions, such as high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions of the cervix, cervical conization is required. The postoperative pathological examination results show that about 8% of people are more serious, showing a small cervical invasion Sex cancer or invasive cancer requires a total hysterectomy, and about 92% of people are safe. For precancerous lesions of the cervix, because it is still in the precancerous stage, it is not cancer in itself, so radiotherapy or chemotherapy is definitely not needed.
If it is just a simple HPV infection, there is no evidence of pathological changes at present, only need to reduce anxiety, increase the body’s immunity, eliminate inducements, and schedule regular work and rest. Of course, following a doctor’s advice to strengthen clinical follow-up is far more meaningful than being repeatedly brainwashed by advertisements flying all over the Internet.
- How to prevent HPV infection?
Once again, most women’s HPV infection can be “eliminated” by the body’s normal immunity within two years, and only a few of them may become persistent HPV infection. Therefore, being infected with HPV does not mean that they will develop cervical cancer. Cancer is just a rare outcome after HPV infection.
Female friends can reduce the chance of HPV infection by adopting a good lifestyle, balanced nutrition, proper exercise, and a protected sex life (such as avoiding multiple sexual partners, using condoms). Female friends should also participate in cervical screening on a regular basis to detect cervical precancerous lesions or early cervical cancer as early as possible. It is recommended that women who have had sex for more than three years or who have had sex at the age of 21 can start cervical screening.
At present, the HPV vaccine has been officially launched in more than 100 countries and regions around the world. It is used for vaccination of adolescents and young women and is expected to eliminate cervical cancer from the cause. But getting the cervical cancer vaccine is not a one-time and no-go, sit back and relax, and regular cervical cancer screening is still needed.