You may have heard that there is some kind of link between genital warts and cervical cancer. Maybe you wonder if one causes the other. Almost every sexually active person has had genital warts at one time or another even if they didn't know it. However, not all women have had cervical cancer. So, what is the link?
The answer to that question can be summed up in two words or explained in many. The two words are human papillomavirus (HPV). Both genital warts and cervical cancer start with HPV. The difference is in the different strains of the virus and what happens after the virus takes hold.
Of the many types of HPV, thirty are active in the genital area. Some of these cause genital warts. They can be spread by sexual contact of the genitals, the anus, the mouth and the throat with an infected partner's. Genital warts are extremely contagious, especially when unprotected sex is involved.
Of the thirty strains of HPV that occur in genital areas, ten of them are called high risk. They are the most likely to cause cervical cancer. They usually do not produce visible genital warts, although they could.
Low risk variations of HPV cause visible and often troublesome genital warts. The good news is that they are less likely to cause cancer. If a woman has yearly Pap tests, her doctor can keep a close eye on her cervical health.
When a woman has an HPV infection, the body either fights off the virus or it doesn't. If the virus is defeated, the woman will never know she had HPV. If the virus remains active, she will have some negative results. These can be genital warts or cervical cancer.
The gynecologist can determine if she has any HPV infections. Furthermore, care can be taken to watch for problems. Cervical cancer can arise suddenly. Or, genital warts can develop into cervical cancer.
Your gynecologist may tell you that you have cancerous or precancerous growth on your cervix. There is a good chance that the genetic information of HPV is in the affected tissue. This happens often to women who started out being diagnosed with HPV before their cervical cancer.
Having many sexual partners or starting to have sex at a young age are considered risks for cervical cancer. This is because the HPV is so very contagious. It is also because the HPV is linked to cervical cancer.
Gardisil, a new HPV vaccine has recently made the news with its introduction into medical practice. It is helpful in preventing two kinds of HPV that primarily cause cervical cancer. It also prevents two kinds of HPV that make up the causes for ninety percent of all genital warts.
In the end HPV causes genital warts, whether they are visible or not. Some of the strains cause cervical cancer. For these reasons, it is very important to seek professional treatment when you have any suspicion of either condition. Also, don't forget to have a yearly Pap test.