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shucks 12-31-2002 08:43 AM

Q&A All about genital HPV infections
 
I got this question and answers from my OB GYN, and thought I would post it here for the people that are scard like I was. I think if you feel that you have this go get checked out...

Each year, millions of people all over the world are diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The most common of these infections is a virus called HPV (human papilloma virus). The information provided here may supplement what your physician has already told you or will tell you about this particular virus, its treatment, and what you can do to protect yourself now and in the future.

What is HPV?
HPV is a family of more than 100 strains of virus, including those that cause warts on the hands and feet. About one-third of these viruses cause STDs, resulting in genital problems that affect both woman and men. Som studies have shown that perhaps 20 percent of all men and women in the United States, between 15 and 49, have evidence of HPV infection. The more sexual partners you have, the greater your risk of getting an HPV infection. Studies of sexually active young adults suggestthat the lifetime risk of getting HPV can be as high as 80 percent.
It is best to keep your immune system high and in good health it keeps the virus under control. Genital warts, or condylomas, are one kind of lesion cause by HPV. These warts sometimes appear as growths or bumps on the vulva, in or around the vagina or anus, on the cervix, in the urethra (bladder opening), or on the penis, scrotum, groin, or thigh. They may be raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large. Some warts cluster into a cauliflower-like shape.

Microscopic warts, caused by genital HPV, are warts that physicians can only find with a special instruments. There are also genital HPV infections that live in the skin without causing any visible sign at all. These HPV infections are called "clinically inapparent" or "subclinical." Sublinical infections usually cause no symptoms, and require no treatment.
Research has shown that HPV is the principle agent causing cervical dysplasia in women. Dysplasia is the disorderly growth of the cells that line the cervix, which is the opening to the uterus. Undetected and untreated, dysplasia can eventually lead to cervical cancer. Fortunately, a Pap test can accurately detect and successfully treat dysplasia in the vast majority of cases.

Who gets genital HPV infections, and how?
Genital HPV infections occur in sexually active women and men of all ages, races, and social classes. Genital HPV is usually spread by direct, skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. A pregnant woman can also infect her infant during childbirth, but this is rare.

Diffrent types of HPV can cause warts on other parts of the body, such as the hands. Contatc with these types of warts can cause similar skin warts, bu tdoes not cause genital warts.

If I were infected, when would warts appear?
It's difficult for people to know exactly when or from whom they have contracted the virus. After sexual relations with an infected person, genital warts may appear within weeks, months, or years-or they may never appear. New arts may also appear months or years after successful treatment. These may be caused either by the original strain of HPV or by a newly acquired strain.

How would I know if I have a genital HPV infection?
HPV infection is often invisible because the virus hides inside the skin or mucous membranes. Even if you develop warts, they may be in an area that is difficult to see, such as inside the vagina or anus, or on the cervix. Genital warts are often small and flesh-colored, and usually have no accompanying symptoms, such as itching, pain, or bleeding.

there are some symptoms you can watch for. See your personal physician or OB GYN if you:
*find unusual growths, bumps, or skin changes on or near your penis, vagina, vulva, or anus; or
*notice any unusual itching, pain, or bleeeding; or
*if you are not sure and worry yourself to death go get checked out for a peace of mind.

How is genital HPV treated?
Genital warts can be treated in a variety of ways. Your medical practitioner may apply a medication in the office, or prescribe a medication that you can use at home. Large or persistent warts may require treatment by freezing, surgery, or laser.

Follow-up visits may be needed for any treatment method to succeed , and it's not uncommon for a series of treatments to be required. In some circumstances, observation without treatment may be an option. But whether the lesions are treated or observed, it's important to follow your physician's recommendations.

What if Im diagnosed with genital HPV?
If you're diagnosed with genital HPV, it's normal to experience a range of emotions. Like many people, you may feel depressed, angry, guilty, or frutrated. Or like others, you might feel ashamed, unattractive, and uninterested in sex. Whatever you feel, it's important to remember that it's natural. I encourage you to share your feelings with your partner and your medical practitioner, to help you feel better.

If you are diagnosed with genital HPV, you're not alone. Keep the following in mind:
*Genital HPV is now very common
*For most people genital HPV is a minor problem.
*Occasional warts can be treated in the medicaal offices.
*Having regular Pap tests to check for HPV can help you effectively prevent cerical cancer.

Although the medical people are still learning about HPV, over time, most people seem to have fewer outbreaks and HPV-related problems. It is believe this is because the immune system learns to control the virus.

How do protect myself and others?
All STDs, including genital warts, are spread primarily through genital, oral, and anal sexual contact. Follow these guidelines to help keep you from contracting other STDs or spreading genital warts to others.

Praatice safer sex
The surest waay to avoid STD infection is to abstain from sexual intercourse and potentially unsafe sex. If you are sexually active, take these precaustions to protect yourself:
*Always use latex condoms and a spermicide that contains nonoxynol-9 when you ahve sexual intercourse if you or your partner is male.
*Control your use of alchol and other mood-altering drugs, they can cloud your ability to make decisions about safer sex.
*Make self-protection a priority. Always practice safer sex because your sexual partner may not know wheter they've been exposed to genital HPV or other STDs. Even if you already have one strain of virus, you can still protect yourself against other strains.

Have regular Pap tests
HPV infection increases the risk of having an abnormal Pap test result. Because of this it is recommendedthat you have an annual Pap test if you have HPV, or if you are sexually active. Women who have more than one sexual partner have a greater risk of contacting the virus, which could result in an abnormal Pap test. But if you've been sexually monogamous(have had only one sex partner) for two years, and you have had two normal annual Pap tests, it may be recommended a Pap test every two to three years.

Take care of your body
You're lesss susceptible to infection when you're in good heaalth. And if you have genital HPV, a strong immune system is important in bringing the disease under control. Keep your immune system strong-eat healthy foods, get enough sleep and exercise, manage your stress level, and avoid alchol, drugs, and tobacco.

Examine your genitals regularly to check for visible warts. If you notice any, contact your personal physician or OB GYN and follow these precautions:
*Don't try to remove warts yourself with over the coutner medications.
*Wash your hands after touching genital warts, ordinary souap kills the virus.
*Urinate, and carefully wash and dry your genitals after sexual contact.

Greenoctopus18 02-06-2003 03:46 AM

[quote]Originally posted by shucks:
genital warts may appear within weeks, months, or years-or they may never appear.[/B][/quote]

By [b]never appear[/b] does it mean that you may not be affected, or that you just won't show any symptoms?

shucks 02-06-2003 05:46 AM

[quote]Originally posted by Greenoctopus18:
[b] By [b]never appear[/b] does it mean that you may not be affected, or that you just won't show any symptoms?[/B][/quote]

If you had been in contact with an infected person then more than likely you have it, BUT you may not even show any symptons at all, and you can pass it down to another person without even knowing it. That is why this virus is so commonly spread, because nobody shows any symptoms at all.

jules1 06-29-2003 08:36 PM

Can warts go away on their own?

I think I may have some (I really don't know though), however, if I have any they are all on the inside.

Do I go to the Dr to get them treated? I have been with my b/f for 6 mo. and plan to be with him for awhile. He has the HPV virus too (obviously).

If the only point in getting them treated is so that I am less likely to spread them, and he has the virus as well, do I bother with trying to treat them or just let them run their own course?

shucks 06-29-2003 09:00 PM

It is better to go to the doctor to get them treated. True some cases people can get rid of the warts without treatment, but this is NOT with all people, and really not wise.

Warts CAN turn into cancer depending if it is on the cervix (sp), this is why it is important to get treated by a doctor, sooner they are removed the better you will be.

It wouldnt be wise to just let them be there, because of the risk of it leading to cancer (and that will do more damage then anything)....

jules1 06-30-2003 06:07 AM

The reason I ask is I know people who have had warts on their hands, and didn't bother treating them, and they went away after a few months. And I think Drs will tell you if you don't want to treat them on your hands, etc, just wait it out.

Since it is the same virus, wouldn't the same rules apply?


jules1 06-30-2003 05:56 PM

I am going to the Dr Thurs for something else, so I am going to talk to her about it then.

I am pretty sure I have some. I have a few white spots that I noticed after shaving. They are really small. I also have a few small bumps inside my vagina. How would the Dr remove these? Since they are small would it be possible to put a solution on them? These are the only ones that I am worried about.

And if you get a solution put on them to take care of them, what happens afterwards?

shucks 06-30-2003 06:33 PM

First off it is a good idea to get them checked out very good choice.

If these bumps are indeed warts there are many different kinds of treatments (there are creames, acid solution, freezing them off, ect ect, sometimes it takes more than just one to get them removed, but be patient they will soon go away with consistancy).

After they are gone build up your immune system and even take a multi-vitamin everyday....if you drink stop, if you smoke stop, because this will weaken the immune system. examine yourself like 2 times a month or when ever you feel the need to and live life...this is what you do after the warts are gone.

jules1 07-01-2003 08:47 AM

The only thing I am worried about is the likelihood that I will have to get them treated some other way that putting a solution on them or freezing them. I'm still in college, and its not that I *can't* tell my mom, I would just rather not because she has stress problems from worrying about me and my brother so much. I'd rather take care of this on my own if at all possible.

shucks 07-01-2003 03:20 PM

I hear you....My mom is the SAME way this is why I dont have a strong bond because I dont want to tell her anything so she can worry..why do that?

I sure do understand what you are going through. Since you are in college then I take it you are above age? If so just go to the doctor without saying anything OR if she must know that you are going to the doctor just explain that you are going for a check up...no need in worrying her. however if you are underage well then you really have NO choice but to tell her in order for you to go get checked out.


jules1 07-06-2003 09:32 AM

Yeah, I'm over 18... so my mom doesn't have to know. But if it costs alot to get taken care of, I have a feeling she's going to find out.

I have a Dr appt to get them checked out/treated on Wed. How fast do they spread?? I only have a couple (may 3 small ones at the most) inside and the rest on my bikini line. And there is alot on my bikini line, and they go up to my inner thighs. They looked like irritated hair follicles at first, but last night I got a light and a magnifying glass and looked at them and some definitely look like warts.

I'm worried sick about this. I wasn't worried about the 2 or 3 right inside my vag., but now I am worried about how my dr is going to treat the rest (there is probably 20 really small, most can't see even a spot present without a magnifying glass). Can I put cream on these at home? And since there are so many, and they are so small, if I miss a few spots is it likely they will spread again?

i'm just really worried we won't get them all after a few tries and they will come back just as bad as before.

My appt isn't until Wed. Should I try to schedule it sooner, or do warts not really grow that quickly?

shucks 07-07-2003 08:38 PM

[quote]Originally posted by jules1:
[b]Yeah, I'm over 18... so my mom doesn't have to know. But if it costs alot to get taken care of, I have a feeling she's going to find out.

I have a Dr appt to get them checked out/treated on Wed. How fast do they spread?? I only have a couple (may 3 small ones at the most) inside and the rest on my bikini line. And there is alot on my bikini line, and they go up to my inner thighs. They looked like irritated hair follicles at first, but last night I got a light and a magnifying glass and looked at them and some definitely look like warts.

I'm worried sick about this. I wasn't worried about the 2 or 3 right inside my vag., but now I am worried about how my dr is going to treat the rest (there is probably 20 really small, most can't see even a spot present without a magnifying glass). Can I put cream on these at home? And since there are so many, and they are so small, if I miss a few spots is it likely they will spread again?

i'm just really worried we won't get them all after a few tries and they will come back just as bad as before.

My appt isn't until Wed. Should I try to schedule it sooner, or do warts not really grow that quickly?[/b][/quote]


Well true it may be costly you may even have to go back it takes a few treatments depending on what treatment you use.

How fast do they spread? Well that too depends on the individual it can be as fast as a couple of weeks to months to years...or they may not even spread...However I wouldnt advice to wait only because of the risk of cancer.

ok now I know this is scary for you for you dont know what to expect. Depending on the treatment in most cases they like to use some form of acid. You will feel the solution go on....and it feels like a burning sensation...there may be a time when you think you cant handle it, but at that time you will be home in order to take a soak bath (20 minutes time)...it isnt a hurt that you cry, but it is an uncomfortable feeling. The only closeness I can think of how to describe it is have you ever ate too many acid foods and when you urineate it burns like hell? Well it is KIND of like that, but NOT exactly. Dont be afraid for if you let it get TOO far and out of hand (if they spread and get bigger) where the treatment wont work then surgery will be the only option and there will be a yuckie scar. the smaller ones will more than likely be treated with acid...but if there is bigger ones you may ask them to burn or cut or freeze them...they give you a shot to numb you and that feels like a pinch, and after that you can feel a thing...Believe me it isnt that bad...it may get tireing if you have to repeatly go back to get them treated but you have to be consitant...dont stop treating it once you start. They will go away...they wont be there forever....

Well I guess you can get home creams but they have to be prescribed but know that it does NOT work for everybody it is actually a 50/50 that it works. and if there is any warts inside that you are not aware of well the cream wont work...and yes you would have to make sure that you get EVERY wart in order it to work...if you chose that method which I dont recommend. I rather get the treatment who knows what they are doing...you may want to talk to your doctor when you go in about the different methods and ask him what is the best treatment the best percentage to get them treated fast...

Please what ever you do not get discouraged if they do come back...and yes I am not going to lie it can come back 10 times fold but you have to be strong enough to make the right descessions and just be presistant...

It has been over a year since my first and last outbreak...and they have NOT come back...I however do get checked up more often though just to make sure...

I think the warts will be just the same now til wed....you will be ok. there has been cases that it appeared in a couple of weeks, but others months and others years...it depends on your immune system.

I can tell you are scard out of your mind...just know that there is light at the other side...right now it is too dark for you to see...but you will see that you will end up having a nice normal life...

Just remember your immune system is the MOST important thing in keeping the virus under control...and once it is under control you will be able to carry your life...but I imagine you will be more cautious...I know this takes alot out of a person...not only physical, but mental also. Just know that since you are going through what you are going through just know it wont be forever...it may feel like but just know there is light.

I think it is better to be totally honest so you can know what to expect so it wont be as fearful as it sounds.

Maybe after you get your first treatment (just know there may be others to get them fully gone...sometimes the first, second, thrid, maybe forth wont work well it seems that it is not working...but know it is working) you can ask your doctor if there is a place where you can go to have the other treatments that is a resonable and feesible price range???

Let me know how it goes. and sorry I didnt get to you sooner.



jules1 07-08-2003 08:18 AM

Thanks shucks -

yeah, I've been really really stressed out. I'm not really upset about having the warts now, and I'm not scared about how they are going to treat them (because they are small...). I'm just worried because I have SO many of them on my thighs?? I don't understand how I have so many on my legs :( But the Dr appt is tomorrow (at 945, I have class at 1, so I should be alright for class?) so I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for all of your help! :)

shucks 07-08-2003 09:33 AM

I am glad you calmed down...dont stress for that too weakens the immune system.

Just know as I said before it depends on the individual...sometimes it comes one at a time...sometimes the warts come in clusters at a time...in your case it is not unusual for this to happen to have so many...it is known in both ways.

you are welcome. I hope everything goes well. Just always keep positive no matter how low you feel or how dark it is...just keep positive, and be persistant and consistant.

[This message has been edited by shucks (edited 07-08-2003).]

jules1 07-08-2003 09:44 AM

I may be psyching myself out. My boyfriend says I shouldn't assume that it is an outbreak because the spots appear as little red dots, and they aren't in clusters. They get more spread out the futher up my leg they get. I guess if they are warts I'm lucky that noone but myself and the Dr can see them.

But the thing is, today I have 3 or 4 spots on my chest - noticed them while putting on a v-neck shirt. They look like the same thing. Is this possible? I am so scared to even touch myself because I'm afraid I'm going to spread the warts. And I never get acne there, so I don't think thats what it is.


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