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Can HPV Be Cured?

Fact Checked

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Story at-a-glance -

  • There is currently no cure for the human papillomavirus itself. But don’t fret because most HPV infections are actually harmless and go away without you ever knowing you had them
  • In cases when warts cause discomfort, or if they are increasing in number, there are treatment options that may be recommended to you by your doctor

The answer, unfortunately, is no — there is currently no cure for the human papillomavirus itself. But don’t fret because most HPV infections are actually harmless. In fact, some people do not even know that they have an HPV infection or had the virus in their body at some point in their lives.

This is because the majority of HPV infections resolve on their own in a short period of time. In young males and females, HPV is commonly transient, meaning it eventually goes away.1 In fact, the average duration of new cervical HPV infections is around eight months.2 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also notes that 9 in 10 HPV infections are resolved within two years.3

Many people with HPV also do not exhibit any physical symptoms.4 They never develop any health problems, which is one reason why the virus is so commonly spread — infected individuals pass on the virus through skin-to-skin contact or sexual intercourse,5 usually not even knowing they are infected.

Persistent HPV Infections May Cause Warts to Form

When an HPV infection persists, it can lead to the appearance of warts. In some cases, the symptoms can appear years after you’ve had contact with the infected individual. For some people, this makes it difficult to pinpoint from whom they acquired the virus, especially since sometimes the warts are so small you may not see them.6

There are different types of HPV warts that may appear, depending on the strain that infected you. For example, common warts appear on the fingers, elbows and hands, and may look like rough, red bumps.7 On the other hand, genital warts, often caused by HPV types 6 and 11,8 manifest in the genital regions and can become itchy, uncomfortable and painful.

Although HPV Isn’t Curable, There Are Ways to Manage the Warts

Most people opt to leave HPV warts alone, as they typically self-resolve over time. However, the appearance of warts means that there’s an active infection, and a higher chance of passing on HPV to another person. In this case, it may be best to abstain from sexual intercourse to prevent the virus from spreading.9

In cases when warts cause discomfort, or if they are increasing in number, there are treatment options that may be recommended to you by your doctor. Conventional remedies include topical medications and surgical remedies like cryotherapy and electrocautery, but take note that these come with potential side effects, so make sure to discuss your options thoroughly with your physician.

Holistic remedies like garlic extract, green tea extract and tea tree oil are also available to help alleviate genital warts.

Mushrooms and Blueberries May Help Treat — and Possibly Cure — HPV in Women

New research shows that a Japanese mushroom extract given orally can eradicate HPV infections in women. The study was presented in October 2014, and researchers reported that the readily available supplement, active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), successfully ended HPV infections in study subjects who took the supplement daily for six months.10,11

Another study the same year showed that the medicinal mushrooms, Trametes versicolor (aka Turkey Tail), Ganoderma lucidum (aka lingshi or reishi mushroom) and Laetiporus sulphureus (aka sulfur shelf or chicken-of-the-woods) cleared oral HPV 16 and 18.12

Blueberry extract was the subject of a study reported in December 2017. In this case it was cervical cancer researchers took on, and discovered that human cervical cancer cells treated with blueberry extract could result in a 25% decrease in cancer.

Combined with radiation, the extract achieved a 70% reduction, compared to just 20% when radiation alone was used. Study authors attributed the findings to blueberries’ flavonoids, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.13

Additionally, curcumin, which is found in turmeric and has known antiviral and anticancer properties, has also been found to limit the activity of both oral and genital HPV viruses.14

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Bolster Your Own Immune System so It Can Clear the Virus

Keep in mind that your first line of defense against HPV (and other types of infections) is your immune system. Keep it in top shape by consuming a healthy whole food diet, minus the processed junk and sugars, and by employing healthy lifestyle strategies, such as:

Properly managing your stress levels

Getting enough high-quality sleep

Avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol

Incorporating a regular exercise routine into your schedule

MORE ABOUT HPV

HPV: Introduction

What Is HPV?

Oral HPV

How Is HPV Transmitted?

HPV Vaccine

HPV in Men

HPV in Women

HPV Types

HPV Causes

HPV Symptoms

HPV Warts

HPV Treatment

HPV Test

How to Get Rid of HPV

Living with HPV

Does HPV Go Away?

How Do You Get HPV?

Is HPV Curable?

Is HPV Contagious?

How Long Does HPV Last?

HPV FAQ

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