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Human Papillomavirus

Immune | June 15, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

Immune

Human Papillomavirus

Human papillomavirus is a group of viruses that are incredibly common and highly contagious. According to the World Health Organisation, there are over 100 different types of HPV, some of which can lead to skin or mucous membrane growths (warts) and cancerous lesions of the cervix. In many cases HPV infection doesn’t cause any issues and the infection is usually cleared from the body without any treatment. So, lets take a look at what HPV is exactly and ways to treat it naturally.

Warts

Skin infection with HPV is very widespread—leading to noncancerous skin growths called warts. They are a common skin complaint in children and adults and in many cases wart infection will resolve spontaneously. In one study, infection by HPV types 2, 27, and 57 was found in people with warts, while infection by HPV types 1, 2, 63, and 27 was found in people with clinically normal skin.

Types of warts include

Common warts—this type of wart is usually found on the hands and feet, but can also occur in other areas, such as the elbows or knees. Common warts have a hard, raised surface with a rough surface.

Plantar warts—these small hard bumps are generally found on the soles of the feet. They grow inwards and can lead to pain or tenderness on the bottom of the foot.

Periungual warts—these warts form under or around the fingernail (subungual). They are more difficult to treat than warts in other locations and can be caused by nail biting.

Flat warts—as the name implies these warts are smooth, flattened lumps. They can occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the arms, face, hands or lower legs.

Filiform warts—these are long, thread-like warts that often appear on the face, particularly around the eyes and lips.

Genital warts

HPV infection of the genital area is one of the most common sexual transmissible infections (STIs). Genital warts appear as painless growths and can be seen as:

  • Flat or raised
  • Single or multiple
  • Arranged in a cluster

Genital warts usually appear on the genitals and anus, but can sometimes occur inside the vagina, rectum or urethra.

The strains of HPV that can cause genital warts are usually different from those that cause warts on other parts of the body. More than 40 different HPV types can cause genital warts, but types 6 and 11 together account for about 90% of all cases.

Genital warts are quite contagious, while common, flat, and plantar warts are much less likely to spread from person to person.

The great majority of genital HPV infections never cause any overt symptoms and are cleared by the immune system in a matter of months. Moreover, people may transmit the virus to others even if they do not display any symptoms of infection. Most people acquire genital HPV infections at some point in their lives, and about 10% of women are currently infected. A large increase in the incidence of genital HPV infection occurs at the age when individuals begin to engage in sexual activity.

Cervical cancer

Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are associated with HPV infection, most notably with two types, HPV16 and HPV18. The process of changing normal cervical cell into cancerous ones is a slow process which happens over many years. Although HPV is common, most women with HPV will not develop cervical cancer as the virus naturally clears from the body within a few years without treatment.

Human PapillomavirusAbout a dozen HPV types (including types 16, 18, 31, and 45) are called "high-risk" types because persistent infection has been linked to other cancers such as cancer of the oropharynx, larynx, vulva, vagina, penis, and anus.

HPV infection is spread through skin-to-skin activity through sexual contact.

Practicing safe sex by using condoms helps to reduce your risk of infection.

 

Cervical screening

Women aged between 25 and 70 years who have ever been sexually active are recommended to have a cervical screening test every 5 years. This new screening test replaces the pap test and is a quick and simple procedure which checks for changes to cells of the cervix which can lead to cancer.
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Supporting healthy immunity against HPV

If you are infected with a strain of HPV and it is causing you to experience uncomfortable symptoms there are ways in which you can clear the infection from your system faster. Listed below is a range of natural supplements which you can take internally or apply topically to stop HPV in its tracks.

Anti-viral herbs

There are many herbal medicines which contain systemic anti-viral properties including:

  • echinacea
  • lemon balm
  • propolis,
  • thuja
  • andrographis.

A cream can also be applied topically. Typical antiviral herbs used include:

  • calendula
  • licorice
  • goldenseal
  • St John’s wort 

Medicinal mushrooms

Supporting healthy immunity against HPVMedicinal mushrooms are more than just your average mushroom. They possess potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and antiviral properties.

A 2014 study investigated the use of turkey tail, reishi and chicken of the wood mushrooms on the clearance of HPV serotypes 16 and 18. In the group taking medicinal mushrooms the clearance of HPV was equal to 88% compared to 5% in the placebo group.

Zinc

This essential mineral is perhaps the most important trace element for immune function. Zinc deficiency has been shown to cause decreased immunity to cutaneous infections such as warts. A placebo-controlled trial attempted to prove this theory by using oral zinc sulphate supplement daily for treatment of recalcitrant warts.  Results included complete HPV clearance in 87% of the treatment group versus 0% of the placebo group.

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References

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/warts

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/genital-warts

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/cervical-cancer

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hpv-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20351596

de Koning MN, et al. High prevalence of cutaneous warts in elementary school children and the ubiquitous presenceof wart-associated human papillomavirus on clinically normal skin. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Jan;172(1):196-201

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24976535

Donatini B. Control of oral human papillomavirus (HPV) by medicinal mushrooms, Trametes versicolor and Ganoderma lucidum: a preliminary clinical trial. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2014;16(5):497-8

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25271984

Sinha S, et al. Immunomodulators in warts: Unexplored or ineffective? Indian J Dermatol. 2015 Mar-Apr;60(2):118-29

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25814698

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