Human Papillomavirus

What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with an estimated 6.2 million individuals newly infected annually. The HPV is part of the Papillomavirus family of viruses that is capable of being transmitted among humans. There are over 300 known types of HPV most of which are harmless and do not display symptoms. Currently, more than 30 know types, when transmitted, can infect the genital region in the form of warts. These warts can also be on other parts of the body such as the thigh, mouth, throat and feet. They usually appear as small bumps or a group of bumps and may be raised, flat or cauliflower shaped. 

The breakout can occur weeks or even months after the sexual contact and can be diagnosed by careful examination by a doctor. In 90% of people the body’s immune system clears it up with no adverse affects. The tissue that is affected by HPV is the mucous membrane or in the basal cell which is the deepest layer of the epidermis; the external layer of skin. The basal cells are found in the “stratum germinativum” which is a thick layer of cells, and are thought to be the stem cells of the epidermis. When infected, they proliferate and create “daughter cells” that migrate superficially, differentiated as they do so.
Mitosis is the process through which cells separates the chromosomes in the cell nucleus into two separate, identical cells with separate nuclei. This process is common throughout the body and is how the HPV virus multiplies. The infection starts when there is a breach of the epithelial barrier, usually from skin-to-skin contact and friction which occurs during normal sexual intercourse, exposing the uninfected partner. The virus from the host is then exposed to the basal cells in the recipient. Once the HPV virus invades the recipient, it can be then transferred to others within 12-24. Resistance to infection depends on one’s ability to fight infection and how well their immune system in functioning.

Depending on the host’s immune system, the virus can survive for many months. It is also resilient at low temperatures. If a person has warts on the bottom of their feet, they can spread the virus by walking barefoot in public.  There are some scientists that believe that an HPV infection can lead to cervical, anal and genital cancers, although this is still a hypothesis without solid proof. If a person is immune compromised resulting in a weak immune response, these scientist believe the lesions may result in cancer years down the road. 

Remember, 90% of the population that get the infection, will produce antibodies which play a role in neutralizing the infection, resulting in complete recovery. Like with all infectious illnesses, I believe, that the way to avoid these diseases is to focus on promoting health and cleanliness, support natural immunity and use wisdom if sexually involved.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is contagious and can be passed from person to person during normal sexual contact or by coming in contact with the virus through skin-to-skin contact. HPV is one of 30 sexually transmitted viruses.  At any given time in life when the immune system is under stress, a person is vulnerable for the infection. In 90% of all HPV infections clear up on their own with no residual complications. As the infection advances, the person may have warts in the genital area, on the thigh, on the cervix or anus and even on their feet. The most common way people get infected is through a lesion in the epidermis, (the external layer of the skin) or the mucous membrane caused from friction. The virus can also be transmitted through oral sex and also transferred from mother to child during the vaginal birth process.

  • Sexual intercourse : This can happen with both vaginal anal sex and also transferred by the use of objects such as sexual toys and fingers. The friction makes microscopic lesions on both the vagina and the penis. The host carrying the virus will expose their partner to the virus through these lesions. The virus will then begin to proliferate, multiply and divide resulting in the infection. The newly affected person will be contagious and can spread the virus to others within 12-24 hours after exposure.
  • Oral : If a person has a cut, sore or lesion in the mouth, this may be another portal of entry. Men who have sex with men are more likely to get oral and anal HPV infection.
  • Birth : Infants can be exposed to HPV during the birth process. On rare occasions if a mother is infected with HPV and has genital warts during the vaginal delivery of her child, the child may be exposed and have HPV-related disease. The transmission of HPV virus types 6 and 11 can result in the development of respiratory papillomatosis, a very rare occurrence with rates of 2 cases per 100,000 births in the United States.
  • Contraction through the feet : HPV can also cause plantar warts on the feet. The HPV strain 1 and 2 are the most common cause of plantar warts found on feet. You can get this infection by walking bare foot in a moist area such as a shower, pool area or in a spa. These viruses are very resilient to colder temperatures.

Treatment of the viral infection, Human Papillomavirus, is usually not necessary. The number of people who contract the illness yearly is approximately 62 million and of those, 90% of the infections clear up on their own with no medical treatment or intervention. Because the disease may not show signs or symptoms, most of the infections go unnoticed and undiagnosed. Therefore, we can only guess at the actual numbers of infections.

The infection may become concerning if a person is unable to fight the infection. A long-term infection is a sign that the body’s immune system is in a weakened state and the infection could progress, resulting in other health problems down the road. Some researchers believe that HPV lesions on the cervix can lead to cervical cancer years later. Currently there is no treatment for the Human Papillomavirus but you can focus on treating the complications or symptoms of the infection. Warts are a sign of HPV infection and are often removed with laser surgery and a local anesthesia in both woman and men. The warts are burned or cut off and often do not return.

Natural Treatments:

An ongoing infection is a sign that the immune system is under functioning. There are many natural ways to support and build the immune system. Here is a list of suggestions, not necessarily in the order of priority or importance. These are well know, natural treatments, safe ways to boost your immune system and improve overall health. I often recommend these as life style habits that will enhance health in general.

  • Be sure to get a diet rich in vegetables. Several different types daily and raw if possible so that you get live food, full of nutrients and food enzymes in their most natural and potent state.
  • Consume 8-10 glasses of clean filtered or spring water daily. This is very important for detoxification, elimination and organ function. Most Americans do not drink enough water and are dehydrated. (Other liquids do not count!)
  • Minerals are often the missing link in most American diets. A good source of trace minerals on a daily basis will insure that you are getting these very important elements for health, especially selenium.
  • There are many herbs and essential oils that can also help boost an immune system.
  • Beta-Mannan has been used by many women and they claim it really helps. It is the healing power of the Aloe vera plant.
  • Beta Carotene, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C.
  • Go Organic : Get your meats free of hormones, antibiotics, vaccines and other chemicals.
  • Get a chiropractic evaluation and spinal adjustments to insure your nervous system is functioning. The whole body as well as the immune system depends on healthy nervous system function.

Medical Treatments:

Men with HPV genital warts may have them removed and when a child or adult develops oral HPV, they can also get the warts removed but they can come back with new exposure. There are several drugs and methods for removal:

  • Salicylic acid. Over-the-counter treatments that contain salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. Don’t use these products for genital warts, as they will cause severe irritation.
  • Imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara). This prescription cream may enhance your immune system’s ability to fight HPV.
  • Podofilox (Condylox). Another type of prescription cream, podofilox works by destroying genital wart tissue.
  • Trichloroacetic acid. This chemical treatment burns off genital warts.

For women who have irregular pap smears (cells on the cervix), here are some of the ways the physician will remove the tissue. This will not prevent the return of future infections.

  • Cryotherapy. This involves freezing the abnormal cells with liquid nitrogen.
  • Conization. This procedure, also known as a cone biopsy, removes the abnormal areas.
  • LEEP or Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. The abnormal cells are removed with a painless electrical current.
  • Laser surgery

Chances are that during the course of a life-time, everyone will be exposed to a human Papillomavirus at some time. Treatment of the viral infection, HPV, is usually not necessary. The number of people who contract the illness yearly is approximately 62 million and of those, 90% of the infections clear up on their own with no medical treatment. Because the disease may not show signs or symptoms, most of the infections go unnoticed, undiagnosed and untreated.

Most people are not aware that they have the disease because it is usually benign and difficult to diagnose. The most common exposure is through sexual intercourse, oral sex and anal sex. It is possible to pick up HPV from a shower floor in a public spa or school gym resulting in warts on the feet. Some infants are exposed to HPV from their mother when going through a vaginal delivery at birth. Here are the most popular prevention methods:

Abstinence and the use of Condoms:

These methods will reduce your chances greatly of exposure. But there is no guarantees.

Natural Prevention…the Immune System:

Your immune system is the first line of defense for your body. There are many ways to keep our immune system functioning and its optimum level. You need to make sure that your are getting sufficient clean water (8-10 glasses a day), essential vitamins and minerals, and a nourishing diet. Try to eat your food as close to its natural state as possible and eliminate processed products. Organic is much better than traditionally grown or raised products and raw vegetables more nutritious that cooked because they still contain the enzymes that aid in digestion.  Your state of your immune system relies greatly on how well your nervous system functions. I recommend regular spinal adjustments.

Medical Prevention…Treating Symptoms:

The traditional medical approach is to reduce symptoms with the use of chemicals (medications and drugs). Since there are usually no symptoms with HPV, there is usually no treatment. There is no medication to prevent infection but you can focus on treating the complications or symptoms of the infection. 

The HPV Cervical Cancer Vaccine:

This HPV vaccine is based on the theory that the HPV virus is the cause of cervical and anal cancers. This theory has never been scientifically proven and the vaccine is extremely controversial. There are many reported injuries from the vaccine and many deaths in healthy young girls following the vaccine reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). The side effects are alarming and the ingredients are toxic. Injuries include genital warts on neck, back, chest and face, seizures, chronic fatigue, severe headaches, muscle weakness, confusion, stroke and heart attack ending in death. The best prevention against HPV and other diseases is health promotion!

In most people, HPV infection is not considered to be a real dangerous illness. In fact, it is by itself benign and will not cause death. There are at least 106 types of HPV that have been identified. The virus can affect infants, children adolescence and adults. How the viruses infect people is still completely misunderstood. An infection is usually the result of diminished immunity at exposure. Over 90% of the time both men and women recover from the illness without treatment and with no residual effects.

HPV infection has been around for centuries. Ancient Greek and Roman medical records described genital warts and genital lesions and associated them with sexual activity (Jay & Moscicki, 2000). The concern with HPV is the long-term association with and possible cause of cervical and anal cancer. Scientists consider some of the strains high-risk which may eventually result or lead to cervical cancers later in life. High risk HPV strains include HPV 16 and 18 which are thought to be the ones likely to evolve into cancer. They have been more strongly associated with malignancies of the tonsils, anus, genital tract, and other areas. Some of the low- risk HPV strains that cause genital warts are HPV6 and 11 which rarely develop into cancers.

Oral Cavity Infection:

Children and adolescents can get HPV infection in the oral cavity (mouth and throat). They lesions look like white or pink warts and can be on the tongue, lips, and gums or in the throat. They are usually painless and non- ulcerated. If necessary, they are removed and the infection will not return unless the person is immune compromised and re-exposed to the infection. The rate for oral HPV in adults is between 5-80% and approximately 6-10% of children are affected.

Birth Exposure:

Some infants get exposed from an infected mother during the birth process. This can result in juvenile-onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis with the rates of about 2 cases per 100,000 children per year in the United States. If the mother presents with genital warts at the time of the birth, the risk of the infant getting the infection is still very low, approximately less than 1%.

Cervical Cancer:

If a person is immune compromised, it may take up to a year to recover from the HPV infection. There may not be any obvious symptoms but the lesions can be internal and unseen. Because there is no treatment for HPV infection, the immune compromised individual will be more challenged. During a pelvic examination using a hand held instrument called a colposcope, a doctor may be able to examine cervical and vaginal tissue under magnification. Some physicians see HPV as a possible precursor to cervical cancer. A pap smear can also detect pre-cancerous cells that may be related to the HPV infection but often are inaccurate and inconclusive. A follow-up test called the Hybrid Capture II HPV test, which is DNA based technology, can also validate if there are cellular changes and HPV present on the cervix. If the lesions cause cellular changes, a physician may suggest removal of the damaged tissue. The removal of the tissue can result in scar tissue and in some rare cases, may affect pregnancy. The cervix may be weaker and carrying a child full-term may not be possible resulting in premature delivery.

HVP Vaccine:

The recent approval of the HPV vaccines, many people are misled to believe that it is the magic bullet for cervical and anal cancers. Close examination of the HPV vaccines showed that it is experimental, has caused many injuries and death to young girls and is far more dangerous than any HPV infection. Ultimately, there is no magic pill or vaccine that will insure that you do not get HPV.

In Conclusion:

HPV infection is as common as the seasonal cold! Depending on how strong your immune system is, how careful you are, how sexually active you are, and how you approach health will determine how well you deal with it should you came in contact with it.  I believe the focus should be on promoting healthy immunity, supporting the body with good organic foods, minerals, vitamins, clean water and a clean environment. 

Can people actually die from Human Papillomavirus infection? Although this virus is highly contagious, most people completely recover without medical treatment within a short period of time. The average length of the infection is eight months and most clear up by one year through the natural immune process

When researching how many people die annually from HPV infection, it was difficult to get solid numbers because most of the literature combines the HPV virus with cervical cancer. In the last few years since the HPV vaccine was approved for use, the scientific literature had much to say about HPV leading to cancer but little to say about death from HPV alone.

Infants can be exposed to HPV virus during childbirth through the childbirth delivery process but there are no statistics of babies dying. On rare occasions, about 2,000 out of every 4 million newborns, will contract a condition where they get warts on their throat called laryngeal papillomatosis because of exposure from the mother. The main concern is that these warts, if large, will cause obstruction in the infant’s airway. They can be removed by laser surgery but may come back again. I did not find any cases of babies dying from this either.

It is true that you can get exposed from walking in public showers in bare feet and end up with warts on the feet but this does not lead to death. From what I have read about HPV, the illness is itself can not lead to death. There are many people in the medical community that use HPV and cervical cancer in the same sentence implying that HPV is as dangerous as cancer and even as deadly. I have not found this in the literature. HPV, like many other highly-contagious illnesses, is basically an inconvenient for most healthy people.

For someone who is immune compromised, it is the complications brought on by other illnesses that lead to death. To reduce our chances of HPV infection we can practice sound, healthy and safe methods to avoid exposure but ultimately, if we get exposed through no fault of our own, it is up to our immune system to fight and eliminate it from our body. If you live in the city, shop at grocery stores, attend church or are around people daily…you will get exposed to thousands of viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungus’s automatically! People spend so much time trying to hide from tiny little bugs like bacteria and viruses, but…….. you cannot hide!

We all get exposed to viruses, bacteria, fungus’s and parasites thru ought our life-time no matter how well you try to avoid them. That is why I encourage the natural immune development and advocate for pro-actively promoting health daily utilizing natural un-adulterated organic foods, clean drinking water, minerals and vitamins, active life style and chiropractic to keep the body in peak health. If you don’t you will lose your health by default!