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What is HPV 16 and 18

How is HPV Treated?


Because there is no cure for the Human Papillomavirus, HPV, as is the case with most viruses, any HPV treatment that is given or recommended by a healthcare professional is directed at the symptoms. In many cases and with many people, there are no apparent symptoms with HPV and a person may have it and not realize that they have been infected. The symptoms, and therefore the HPV treatment, vary with the strain of HPV that has infected the individual and it is possible to have several strains of the virus at the same time.

So, the answer to the question, "How is HPV treated?" is – it depends on the symptoms that present and the strain of HPV that has caused the infection and these symptoms. Testing positive to HPV doesn't mean that there is an appropriate treatment.

The most common and the most recognizable symptom of HPV is warts. These warts can be the common warts found usually found on the hands, mainly in children; plantar warts, the warts that grow inwards on the sole of the feet; genital warts that affect the genital and anal areas of both men and women and other very rare conditions. Each type of wart is caused by different strains of HPV, so just because you have one type of symptom doesn't mean that you have other strains as well, although you might.

While these common warts are an inconvenience, they are rarely dangerous, although they can be painful and could become infected if they bleed. The HPV symptoms that cause the most concern are genital warts, especially in women, as these have been shown to be a precursor to cervical cancer.

HPV treatment for common warts:
The treatment for common warts is usually to use one of the over-the-counter medications that are designed for removing warts. Many of these products contain salicylic acid, which chemically burns the wart; this means that you can also damage the surrounding skin and tissue, so extreme care needs to be taken when applying the product. Follow the directions on the package carefully to prevent accidents.

There are also natural treatments for HPV which include natural wart removal products. While these may be safer to use, it could possibly take longer for the warts to fall off. Pure Tea Tree Oil is a popular natural treatment and pure Lemon Essential Oil also works safely and really well.

Just apply a few drops of the oil onto the wart, 2 or 3 times a day, and cover. Repeat until the wart falls away. Onion juice, garlic juice and apple cider vinegar are old home remedies that some people swear by; just apply onto the wart like the tea tree oil.

A popular non-chemical HPV home treatment is the duct tape treatment. Many people swear by this cure for warts while others have less success with it. It is safe and inexpensive. You apply a piece of duct tape to the wart so that it is fully covered and watertight and airtight. After a few days, remove the duct tape and soak the wart in warm water, then pare it down with an emery board or nail file. Repeat this process until the wart is gone, which could take several weeks.

For warts that are painful, in an awkward place or return quickly and regularly, your doctor may decide to freeze them off using liquid nitrogen in a process called cryotherapy, use a laser to burn them off or even remove them surgically. While some of these treatments for HPV may sound extreme, they are simple, quick procedures that are usually painless. A local anesthetic may be applied to the site before treatment.

Whichever HPV treatment you use for removing common warts, they can recur at any time until the virus has been beaten by your immune system. There are strategies later in this article for strengthening your immune system.

HPV Treatment for genital warts
Genital warts, in themselves, are not dangerous but they can be unsightly, itchy, uncomfortable or painful. They occur on or in the genitals or anus and can affect both men and women. Be guided by your doctor as the best HPV treatment for genital warts but be aware that they can recur for as long as you have the virus in your system.

Don't try to use any over-the-counter products to remove genital warts; you need specialist products prescribed by a doctor. The HPV symptom of genital warts are not the same thing as the common warts that appear on your hands.

When the genital warts first appear, many doctors prefer a 'watch and see' approach as the warts often go away without any intervention. If they are not treated, genital warts may disappear, stay the same, become bigger or increase in number.

Genital warts can be removed in similar ways to common warts by a doctor – freezing with liquid nitrogen, cauterization, laser or surgery, either by incision or the LEEP procedure. There are also prescription creams that treat genital warts but these frequently cause pain or irritation. These creams are not recommended for pregnant women.

Removing the genital warts does not remove the virus, so the warts can recur. It is not known if removing the warts lessens the possibility that the person will infect a sexual partner. Depending on the location of the removed genital warts, you might experience discomfort, bleeding, cramps or a discharge.

Tissue from genital warts will also be sent for pathological examination because of the link between HPV and cervical cancer in women. However, the strains of HPV that are linked with cancer generally do not cause genital warts although you can be infected by more than one strain.

Natural treatments for HPV
You will probably be told by your doctor that the symptoms and the virus often go away on their own, although this can take months or even years. This is why doctors often prefer to wait and see before removing genital warts. Many people who have been infected with HPV have no symptoms and don't know they have the virus; symptoms can also appear months or even years after initial infection.

Natural HPV treatments used by herbalists and natural therapy practitioners include escharotic treatments, which use caustic herbs like bloodroot; beta-sitosterols which are plant sterols that have been shown to manage chronic HPV infections; curcumin, a component of turmeric, which has anti-viral properties. Make sure you consult a trained, registered natural therapy professional.

Strengthen your immune system to treat HPV
A strong immune system is your first line of defence in defeating infections, toxins and other bad stuff that tries to penetrate your body. It has been shown that HPV patients with strong immune systems become virus-free much faster than those with weak or compromised immune systems.

There are several natural ways you can strengthen your immune system and enjoy the added benefits of better health, increased energy, improved mental function and reduced stress. They include:

  • A healthy, nutritionally-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, yogurt, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and pulses.

  • Vegetables that are deeply colored red or green (leafy greens are great) are especially good; aim for several different colors of vegetables at each meal. Fresh vegetables contain phytonutrients that stimulate enzymes that protect and repair the cells of the body. These enzymes also help the body to fight cancer.

  • Fruits are full of antioxidants and enzymes – berries are especially good.

  • Avoid over-cooking vegetables – raw or lightly steamed is best.

  • Avoid or limit processed food, fatty and sugary food items and fast food. These are low in nutrition and high in what adversely affects your immune system.

  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption adversely affect your immune system, so quit!

  • Stress weakens your immune system so find ways to relax and manage stressful situations. There is lots of advice, courses, books etc available on this subject.

  • Supplements may help you get all the nutrients you are lacking and may help to kick-start a sluggish immune system. A good quality multi-vitamin every day is a good start; Echinacea, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Magnesium, Selenium and Folic Acid are very important immune system nutrients.

  • Herbal supplements that help the immune system include Astragalus, Ginkgo Biloba, Goldenseal, Olive Leaf, Red Clover, Fenugreek and Spirulina. These are all available at your favorite health store.

Strengthening your immune system is possibly the best HPV treatment, especially where there are no symptoms, and has all the added benefits to your health and well-being as well.

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