The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that affects both men and women. It is passed through sexual contact and causes cervical cancer. As per media reports, In India, cervical cancer took the lives of 546 women in 2017. In 2018, the number increased by 96 percent to 1,073. In 2021, the number increased slightly to 722, representing a 32% increase in cervical cancer fatalities among women in 2021 compared to 2017. Data of 2022 and 2023 are not available.
“HPV is a prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is passed from person to person through sexual activity. Some forms of HPV can cause alterations in cervix cells, leading to cervical cancer”, says Dr Manjiri Mehta, Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital. Common symptoms of HPV include:
These are small, fleshy bumps that appear on the genitals and can cause itching, burning, or pain. Genital warts are not always visible to the human eye. They can appear to be slightly darker in colour than the skin. The top of the growth may resemble a cauliflower and feel smooth or slightly rough to the touch.
Also read: How EMRs Can Help In Early Detection And Treatment Of Cervical Cancer, Doctor Explains
Abnormal Pap Smears
An abnormal pap smear indicates that cell alterations on your cervix were discovered. This may not always imply that you have cervical cancer. HPV is most likely to blame for abnormal changes in your cervix. Changes can be minimal (low-grade) or severe (high-grade) (high-grade). Little modifications usually return to normalcy on their own. According to NCBI, the recommended age for pap smear is between 21 and 65.
The most prevalent symptom of invasive cervical cancer is irregular vaginal bleeding. Bleeding can happen between menstrual cycles or after intercourse. It can also manifest as blood-streaked vaginal discharge, which is frequently misdiagnosed as spotting.
Also read: Cervical Cancer: Expert Explains The Importance Of PAP Smear Test To Detect It
Lower Back Pain
As per NHS, lower back discomfort, pain between your hip bones (pelvis), or pain in your lower tummy can be a sign of HPV infection. Lower back pain is not generally an early symptom of cervical cancer. In case of HPV infection pain in the lower back is persistent, and worsens over time, or is accompanied by other symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and vaginal bleeding.
Apart from above mentioned symptoms, HPV can cause inflammation of the urinary tract, leading to pain when urinating. Changes in the amount and texture of vaginal discharge can also be a sign of HPV.
In some cases, people infected with HPV may not have any symptoms. If you have had unprotected sex, it is important to get tested for HPV so that any necessary treatments can be