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1306047 tn?1333243591

Hypothetical HPV Warts Questions

This is a total hypothetical about genital warts on the penis.  From what I see in the research, the HPV virus lives in our epithelial cells, and the skin cells of the penis are characterized as keratinized squamous epithelium.  Typically, when warts breakout, we go get them removed either via electro-cauterizing, cryotherapy or having them sliced off for biopsy.  

Non-hypothothtical question:  Once the epithelial cells the warts are presenting from are destroyed, can you have another outbreak in that exact same spot?  If so, why?  I'd think not, but I'm no expert.  

Hypothetical question #1:  If you had a crystal ball showing you the exact location of a future outbreak, would preemptively doing cryotherapy kill the virus living in the cells there thus preventing the outbreak?

Hypothetical question #2:  If this were the case, couldn't you technically do something to kill all the cells of the penis and therefore be cured forever of HPV on the penis?  Obviously, this isn't possible, but if it were, like dipping the entire penis in liquid nitrogen or whatever therapy was able to kill the epithelial cells of the penis, would all traces of the virus be obliterated?  

Just something I've been thinking about.
3 Responses
207091 tn?1337709493
COMMUNITY LEADER
#1 - Yes, though I don't know the exact science on it. I had a wart on my elbow (HPV, different strain that doesn't affect genitals) that didn't respond to over the counter treatments. Saw a doctor who froze it. That worked for a bit, then it came back and grew (I let it go for awhile, it wasn't like it was just angry or something). I was referred to a general surgeon who did an office procedure and cut it out. That worked. Of course, by this time it had probably been close to two years since it appeared in the first place, so the virus may have just cleared my body.

2 - The virus isn't just on your penis. It's in your entire genital area. You could, in theory, get warts on your anus, even if you've never had anal sex. And I don't have a penis, but I can't imagine dipping your entire penis in something that burns or freezes the skin. I know you're really frustrated with all this, but that seems like an extreme reaction. I mean, talk to your doctor about it, but I doubt they'd do it.

Have you seen your doctor for a check up to make sure your immune system is working as it should? If you smoke, you should try to stop. It's known that smoking can make it harder to clear the virus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253903/ It's really the only lifestyle change known to affect HPV.



1306047 tn?1333243591
Hahaha, I would never ever consider dipping my penis in liquid nitrogen!  I'm not even sure if that's possible.  These questions are just me musing about HPV for the sake of me having as clear an understanding of it as possible.  We know more than a little about HPV, but there are still a lot of gaps to fill in, yet, too.  I can't remember if it was Dr. Hook or Dr. Handsfield who said in a post years ago that, "nothing surprises him about HPV anymore."  Perhaps he's refined that view over the years, but my take on things is that all we've been able to do is generally categorize HPV behavior and that there are still a fair amount of scenarios that can occur outside the norm.  Take me, for example, and yes, I am very frustrated with HPV and the fact that my body hasn't cleared it and I continue to have outbreaks however rare they may be.  As far as I can tell, my immune system is functioning very well.  I don't smoke, I eat extremely healthfully and prioritize my sleep.  What's difference about me is that I have decently severe general anxiety disorder (GAD- and I'm medicated), and my outbreaks are 100% correlated to tough life developments and my subsequent anxiety flare ups.  It's not only HPV that flares up.  I also have angular cheilitis every once in a great, great while (maybe four of five times since 2004), but every occurrence is directly correlated to a super high stress life experience.  I'm actually having an occurrence right now and it's not surprising since my wife and I decided the same week to split up.  My belief is that my anxiety flare ups are suppressing my immune system or somehow activating the HPV wart virus allowing for an outbreak.  

Knowing full well that there's much to learn about HPV still.  You don't happen to have or know of any resources discussing where the virus resides, do you?  I'd like to follow up on that if I can as a statement as broad as, "It's in your entire genital area.  You could, in theory, get warts on your anus even if you've never had anal sex."  stimulates my need to do as much primary source research as I can.  Of course, in the end it doesn't matter.  I've been doing a great job bringing it up with women I've been meeting and so far they all seem unfazed by my disclosure.  As always, thanks so much for your responses to my questions and to all our questions.  
207091 tn?1337709493
COMMUNITY LEADER
It makes sense that stress is causing recurrences for you. It's a big trigger for people who have herpes, so it stands to reason that it would be for HPV. Stress does a lot of things to our bodies, and none of it is good.

Anogenital warts - https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/warts.htm

"Warts can also occur at multiple sites in the anogenital epithelium or within the anogenital tract (e.g., cervix, vagina, urethra, perineum, perianal skin, anus, and scrotum). Intra-anal warts are observed predominantly in persons who have had receptive anal intercourse, but they also can occur in men and women who have not had a history of anal sexual contact."

This is why condoms don't offer total protection against HPV. It's transmitted by direct skin to skin contact, and condoms don't cover all the skin. If the male partner has it, there's a chance - though a significantly reduce chance - that he may still transmit it.

It's estimated that about 90% of people will have HPV at least once in our lifetimes. Women, especially, are aware of HPV because we get tested for it with our pap smears. We talk about it with our friends when we get an abnormal pap. It's not uncommon or all that alarming for us. :)

Where does HPV reside?  https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/hpv-genital-warts/hpv-virus-information-about-human-papillomavirus#1  

"HPV lives in thin, flat cells called epithelial cells. These are found on the skin's surface. They’re also found on the surface of the vagina, anus, vulva, cervix and head of the penis. They’re also found inside the mouth and throat."

Essentially, this means you can get a wart on any part of your body. Obviously, you know this, and you know that certain strains of HPV affect certain parts of your body. Certain strains cause plantar warts on your feet, others cause them in your genital area, etc.

In case the thought of oral HPV freaks you out - https://www.healthline.com/health/hpv-in-the-mouth

Oral warts aren't common, nor is oral cancer from HPV. Chances go up if you smoke or drink heavily.

Did I miss anything?

And you're welcome. :)



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