Understanding HPV: Causes, Transmission, and Risks

HPV infection

HPV or Human papillomavirus refers to a viral infection that spreads through sexual contact, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex. In some cases, this infection can lead to cancer. Below, the best lady gynecologist in newtown, Kolkata discusses its causes, transmission, and risks.

Causes and Transmission:

HPV viruses are categorized into two main types: low-risk and high-risk. Low-risk HPV strains, such as HPV 6 and 11, are responsible for non-cancerous conditions like genital warts. On the other hand, high-risk HPV strains, particularly HPV 16 and 18, can contribute to the development of various cancers, including cervical, anal, penile, vaginal, and oropharyngeal cancer.

According to the best female gynecologist in newtown, Kolkata, HPV is transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The virus can infect the skin or mucous membranes of the genital area, throat, or mouth. It is essential to note that HPV can get transmitted even if there are no visible symptoms or signs of infection. Using protection during sexual intercourse can reduce the chances of contracting HPV, but it does not negate the risk entirely because the virus can infect the exposed areas.

Risks of HPV Infection:

  • Cervical Cancer: Persistent infection with high-risk HPV strains, particularly HPV 16 and 18, is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women. Regular cervical cancer screenings, like Pap tests and HPV tests, can help detect any abnormal changes in the cervix early on and enable prompt treatment.
  • Other Cancers: HPV infections can also increase the risk of other types of cancers, including anal, penile, vaginal, and oropharyngeal cancer. Same-sex couples, especially men, are particularly at risk for anal cancer.
  • Genital Warts: Low-risk HPV strains can cause the development of genital warts, which are non-cancerous growths on the genitals or around the anus.
  • Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP): In rare cases, infants can acquire HPV during childbirth if the mother is infected. This can lead to a condition called RRP, characterized by the growth of warts in the respiratory tract. The condition can cause breathing difficulties and require numerous surgeries to remove the warts.

Prevention of HPV Infecetion:

Prevention plays a crucial role in managing HPV infections and reducing the associated risks. Here are some key preventive measures.

  • HPV Vaccination: Vaccines are available for both men and women to protect against the most common high-risk and low-risk HPV strains. Vaccination can significantly reduce the risk of HPV infection and its associated complications.
  • Safe Sexual Practices: Using protection during intercourse can reduce the risk of HPV transmission, although they may not provide complete protection. Limiting sexual partners and practicing mutual monogamy can also reduce the risk of exposure.
  • Regular Screenings: Regular cervical cancer screenings can detect any abnormal changes in the cervix. Early detection and treatment of precancerous conditions can prevent the progression of cervical cancer, says the best laparoscopic surgeon in Newtown.

You can consult with Dr. Shivanjali Nayak (best female gynecologist in Newtown, Kolkata) to know more preventative measures and reduce your risk of contracting the infection.

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