Papillomas are bulging formations that appear on the skin and mucous membranes of a person. They are not actually a disease, but serve only as an external manifestation of the infection of the body with HPV - the human papillomavirus.
Papillomavirus exists in many different strains, some of which are dangerous because neoplasms have the property of malignant transformation, that is, they can turn into malignant tumors.
The reasons for the appearance of papillomas on the penis
Papillomas are benign formations on the skin or mucous membranes of a warty nature.
The human papillomavirus is transmitted in several ways, from a sick person to a healthy one. The main method is sexual, with unprotected intercourse. But you can "get" the virus in a household way, upon contact with a carrier, if there are integrity defects on the body or mucous membranes, through blood and other fluids infected with the virus.
It is quite difficult to completely "exterminate" a virus that has already entered the body, but in about 90% of cases, an independent cure occurs, that is, the immune system itself "kills" the virus. However, in some cases, the disease takes on a recurrent nature and can last for many years.
A particular danger is posed by strains with the ability to malignancy, that is, to the transformation of a neoplasm into a malignant one.
HPV has a long incubation period, with strong immunity, it can last from a month to a year.
But once the immune system is weakened, it will immediately make itself felt. Symptoms of its presence are formations on the body and mucous membranes, which can have a round, oval or oblong shape and various sizes, from a few millimeters to a couple of centimeters.
More than 600 strains of the virus are known to medicine, of which more than 40 are capable of causing neoplasms in the genital and anal regions in men and women. They are the ones that cause papillomas on the penis, which are referred to as genital warts.
Some of the papillomas are harmless to human health, others are capable of provoking an annoying cosmetic defect - warts, and still others threaten the body with the most dangerous disease - cancer. There is medical evidence between cervical and breast cancer developing with infection with certain HPV strains.
If a virus that can cause papillomas on the genitals enters the body, then the main route of its entry is considered to be sexual. Promiscuous relationships, bisexual and homosexual contacts are especially dangerous. But the virus may well be congenital - the fetus becomes infected when passing through the birth canal of an infected mother. There is also a risk of infection in skin lesions when visiting the pool, public toilet, bath, sauna, gym, while epilating, shaving.
Signs and symptoms of the disease
Symptoms depend on the site of localization, the number and size of papillomas.
Most often, papillomas on the penis affect the head of the organ, "settle" along the foreskin, form colonies on the bridle, and may even penetrate the urethra.
With a strong proliferation of papillomas take the form of "cauliflower", during intercourse, urination can be injured, hurt and even bleed.
Since this is a viral disease, the period of activation of the growth of papillomas is accompanied by a strong decrease in immunity. A person feels weak, lethargic, his body temperature may rise, most often holding on to subfebrile levels (37 - 37. 5 ° C). Since immunity is reduced, an infected person can easily catch colds and "pick up" ARVI and ARI.
The proliferation of papillomas can lead to phimosis - a narrowing of the foreskin.
Because of this condition, a special lubricant accumulates on the head of the penis - smegma. Its infection can lead to the development of a dangerous disease, therefore, if even single papillomas are found, an urgent need to consult a doctor. Individual neoplasms can be removed very quickly and almost painlessly, preventing their growth and a high risk of degeneration into a malignant tumor.
Necessary tests and examinations
The presence of papilloma is determined by the doctor visually, but other studies are needed to clarify the strain and the degree of its riskiness for the patient. The patient donates blood for typing using PCR, a Digene screening test, and is examined for the presence of sexually transmitted diseases, since in the overwhelming majority of cases HPV is "bundled" with STDs.
If there is a suspicion of penetration of papillomas into the urethra, urethroscopy is performed. The doctor may prescribe a biopsy if the growth is too large or if doctors suspect that the formation has begun to degenerate into a cancerous tumor.
Methods for the treatment and removal of papillomas
It is impossible to completely remove the human papillomavirus from the infected person's body, sometimes it remains in it until the end of the patient's life. Medicines to combat HPV are the use of antiviral drugs and immunomodulators that stimulate the activity of a person's own immunity.
Basically, the actions of doctors are aimed at eliminating the external signs of the presence of the virus, that is, the papillomas themselves, warts and genital warts.
Only in the case of cancerous degeneration is complex treatment applied, which includes surgery and the use of chemotherapy to eliminate the threat of tumor spread.
In order to remove papillomas on the penis, the following treatment methods are used:
- Surgical removal.
- Removal of formations with a laser (neodymium or carbon dioxide).
- Cryodestruction - destruction of a neoplasm using liquid nitrogen. Cryodestruction can be applied or aerosolized.
- Cauterization with chemicals.
In most cases, the use of these methods is sufficient to remove the papilloma and prevent its reappearance.
The method of treatment is chosen by the doctor depending on the degree of damage, the type of neoplasm, the patient's health status and his age.
There is a specialized vaccine that is used in women to prevent the most dangerous disease - squamous cell carcinoma, or cervical cancer. It has been proven that it is caused by one of the dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus, since in the absence of HPV in the body, this type of cancer does not occur.
Unfortunately, to date, there is still no vaccine that can prevent infection with other types of human papillomavirus, including those that provoke the appearance of growths on intimate male organs. The only effective way of protection is still the use of condoms during sexual intercourse, as well as the observance of personal hygiene, a cautious attitude towards possible infection in public places.
Prognosis and possible complications
Doctors came to the conclusion that in 90% of all cases of HPV infection, if a person has strong immunity, the body independently copes with the virus within 24 months. But this observation applies only to certain strains of the human papillomavirus, which are not capable of provoking the development of cancer.
The most dangerous complication should be considered malignancy, that is, the transformation of papilloma into cancer. But only a fraction of HPV strains have such properties. The sad consequences can be prevented with early access to medical help and timely diagnostics.
In rare cases, after removal of the papilloma, neoplasms can form on the scar tissue and around it, if the virus actively multiplies in the patient's body due to weakened immunity. In such a situation, repeated removal of papillomas and a comprehensive strengthening of the patient's immunity will be required to prevent further growth of formations.
In most cases, the prognosis is positive if the disease is not too advanced. But this rarely happens with genital warts, since their development causes severe discomfort to the man, and he quickly turns to doctors.