HPV in a woman
HPV in a woman may cause different conditions. The incidence of HPV infection amongst the sexually active population is about 50%. It is the main cause of different types of warts, for example, plantar, flat and genital warts. This virus is also responsible for abnormal changes in the cervical cells, a condition known as cervical dysplasia. Cervical dysplasia is a precancerous disease and it may lead in some cases to the development of cervical cancer.
HPV infection occurs with equal frequency in men and women, but it is estimated to be more dangerous for women because of its close association with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of caner-related deaths in women and in virtually all cases it is associated with HPV infection. For this reason, much attention is devoted to the development of cervical screening programs including testing for HPV in a woman.
A very effective way of protection against HPV-related diseases is the prevention of HPV infection. It is highly recommended for every woman to avoid risky sexual behavior, strengthen the immune system and lead a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, some tests are able to reveal HPV in a woman and it is important to undergo these tests regularly. Regular tests provide the possibility to detect a health problem at an early stage and prevent the development of serious conditions.
Most of the time HPV infection is accompanied by visible signs. It may remain in the body and not cause any abnormalities. In such cases the detection of HPV in a woman is possible only with help of HPV DNA tests. If the infection has developed and triggered some abnormal changes in the cervical cells, the signs of the infection may be identified during the cytological analysis of the cervical smear. This test is called a Pap smear and it is a commonly used tool to find cervical conditions at an early stage.
In some cases, HPV-infected women may develop cervical dysplasia. This condition must be evaluated by a health care provider who is able to determine the severity of lesions and an adequate treatment. Cervical dysplasia has three stages, mild, moderate and severe. The management of patients depends on the stage of the lesions present. Most mild dysplasias go away on their own, and there may be no treatment required. If HPV in a woman is associated with moderate or severe dysplasia, often a surgical removal of the lesions is needed.