Warts are small conspicuous tumors that tend to grow on the skin of certain parts of the body. Mostly, warts thrive in the hardy tissues such as the cuticles on fingers and hardy skin tissues on the feet soles and palms.
What Brings about Warts?
Warts are a result of a viral infection. The virus that causes this malady is referred to as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). What the HPV virus does is that it tends to trigger an excess production of Keratin that constitutes a large percentage of the wart tumour composition. Keratin is a tough protein that forms a major constituent of body tissues such as in nails, skin and the hair. Keratin is produced in the body mainly to protect the epithelial tissues from physical damage. When the HPV virus enters the blood stream, the body tends to produce keratin in huge amounts and thus causing the skin to develop keratin tumors which we now refer to as warts.
Understanding the Human Papilloma Virus
The Human Papilloma virus is a virus that is deeply entrenched in the DNA of a human being and belongs to the Papillomavirus family which is known for infecting certain body tissues while leaving out other. The papillomavirus is prevalent in body tissues such as the skin tissues, keratinocytes (which produce keratin) and the mucous membranes of the body. In those acute infections the papillomavirus causes one to develop cancerous lesions and if not treated they may result to cancers of high risk body parts such as the cervix, vagina, anus and oropharynx.
There are more than a hundred strains of HPV virus but the most grave of all HPV strains are HPV18, HPV17 and HPV16. More alarmingly, more than a quarter of these HPV strains are transmitted through sexual intercourse.
How Does HPV Enter The Body?
In as much as we want to think that we can protect ourselves from contracting warts, well it’s going to take more than mere medication. Why? Because warts are a contagious disease contracted through coming into a skin to skin contact with an infected individual. The infection becomes even more lethal when you imagine that you can also contract it from coming into contact with contaminated surfaces for example from the swimming pool environs. It should be noted that HPV thrives in wet or dump skin and you can easily contract the virus if your skin is wet, than when it’s dry. If your skin is raptured, then you double the risk of contracting it.
Symptoms That May Indicate You Have A HPV Infection
There are certain indications that may be used to tell whether you have a HPV infection or not. Once you see these signs, then it’s to have a body check-up.
- Tumors on the skin around certain parts of the body such as the face, skin, fingertips, scalp or toes.
- Brown growths that are usually not itchy.
- Discolorations on the mouth region and neck area
- Pain in the foot soles when you are walking
- In the case of genital warts, you ,may notice small bumps or growths around the genitalia region
- Sore mouth and in the oral cavity.
HPV and Pregnancy
Many pregnant mothers get worried when they get rashes and lesions as they suspect that the may be having HPV virus in their blood streams. Well until you confirm that you actually have the HPV virus in your body there’s no need to panic. The truth about the effect of the papilloma virus and pregnancy is that HPV surely affects pregnancy. Nonetheless it does not prevent you from getting pregnant.
The possible effects of HPV virus to the body of a pregnant woman include:
- Cervical and abdominal pains:
At times HPV may alter the cervical cells causing some notable changes on the cervix. This can cause abdominal pain in some women and hence it is advisable that pregnant women get regular cervical screening and blood screening to determine whether they have HPV. Moreover, if HPV has brought about development of warts around the genitalia region, then the pregnant woman may also experience some itchy feelings around the genitalia region. In such a case, immediate medical check-up is paramount to help avert possible complications during birth of the child. Genital warts in pregnant women should be treated as soon as possible since an infant may contract the warts during delivery.
- Profuse bleeding and growth of warts
It is quite unfortunate that the effect of HPV in pregnant women is quite lethal than in women who aren’t pregnant. For one, the growth of warts is faster in HPV infected-pregnant women than in normal people. This is probably because of the hormonal changes in the body of a pregnant woman that tend to speed up the growth of warty tissues. In some critical situations the warts even tend to bleed and this of course indicates a code-red situation. If they are not treated soon enough the life of the unborn baby is at risk.
- Blockage of the Vulva
You probably realize the seriousness of HPV when you get to learn about how genital warts caused by HPV can block the birth canal. During those extreme HPV infections in pregnant women, HPV can result in rapid growth of genital warts around the labia and vulva region of a pregnant woman and the situation cannot be cured any time soon. Worse to that, the hormonal changes in the body of the pregnant patient further catalyse thickening of warty tissues and eventually result in complete blockage of the birth canal. If this happens then doctors have no other way of saving the infants life other than through caesarean section.
- HPV Effects on the unborn baby
The most unfortunate thing about being infected with the papilloma virus during pregnancy is that you run the risk of infecting the infant with a condition known as respiratory papillomatosis. This condition is dangerous as up to 60% of infants who are diagnosed with the condition die and the remaining 40% also run the risk of developing permanent problems in their respiratory systems. However, it’s very rare for a pregnant mother to pass on the papilloma virus to the unborn baby, when adequate measures are taken, but when it happens, the situation is quite serious.
Why You Need A HPV Vaccine
A HPV vaccine is a serum that is injected in your body to prevent a possible HPV infection either through body contact or sexual activity. HPV vaccines come in three major doses namely, cervavix as the first dose, followed by Gardasil as the second dose and finally, Gardasil 9.
Each of the doses are meant to protect your body against different strains of HPV. Cervavix is meant for women to protect them from HPV strains that are prevalent to the cervix while Gardasil and Gardasil can be used by both men and women since they protect the body from HPV strains that cause genital and common body warts. Females are encouraged to have the three dosages before the age of fourteen, rather before they begin their sex life.
HPV vaccines are paramount since they prevent possible contraction of the HPV virus that as we have learnt is very grievous especially in women. Nonetheless, HPV vaccines should not be administered during pregnancy as they may have a negative effect on the unborn baby.
InterRelation Between HPV, Cancer And STI’S
There is a common confusion about whether HPV is really an STI or whether it’s a developmental sign for cancer. Well this confusion should not trouble you. To begin with HPV is also a sexually transmitted infection and like other STI’s it can be transmitted through having unprotected sex. Secondly, although HPV does not cause cancer directly, it predisposes one to developing cancerous infections. In terms of predisposing a patient to cancer, HPV viruses can be categorised into two. High risk HPV virus that run a high risk of predisposing a person to cancer and low risk HPV, that causes common warts. High risk HPV viruses are known to cause warts around the skin of the genitalia and oral regions, (or summatively in areas with soft skin tissues) whereas low risk HPV viruses cause warts in other areas of the body with thick skin tissues. Having HPV tests early enough is the secret to effectively controlling the effect of both high and low risk HPV viruses.
Can HPV be Cured?
HPV just like other viral infections has no cure but the virus can be supressed through medication. Normal HPV goes away by its own after the body learns to fight back the virus through the white blood cells. A strong immune system in the body can help flush out HPV sooner than a weak immune system. Therefore, there is an emphasis from medical therapists, on the need for people to have a diet rich in vitamins so as to overcome viral infections such as HPV.
Conclusively Warts are avoidable and treatable. To prevent yourself from contracting warts, observing high levels of hygiene is necessary. Moreover, you must as well seek for a HPV vaccination from your hospital and if possible have frequent HPV tests so as to get medications early enough before warts develop.