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Treatment with Vaginal Selenium and Silicon Dioxide for HPV

Author: Sheena H
Reviewed by Michael Hua, Pharm D

Most sexually active people will contract the human papillomavirus (HPV) at some point in their lives. While most cases clear up on their own with time, certain types of HPV can also put women at risk of cervical cancer. If you have experienced an abnormal pap smear due to HPV, it may be a good idea to look at some of the latest treatments available. Vaginal gel with selenium and silicon dioxide may be a viable option. Below is a closer look at HPV and this effective treatment.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an infection caused by one of the more than 100 types of the virus. Depending on the type of virus contracted, people who are infected can develop either warts or certain types of cancer. Thankfully, the majority of HPV infections do not lead to the development of cancer. However, HPV is still one of the most common types of viral infections with 42 million people currently diagnosed and 13 million getting HPV infections annually.

Around 90 percent of HPV infections actually go away on their own within a few years. The cases that do not get better or last longer are thought to contribute to several types of cancer, including:

  • Cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer in women

  • Penile cancer in men

  • Anal cancer in men and women

  • Cancer of the back of the throat in men and women

Some of the latest numbers indicate that HPV causes around 36,000 cancer cases among men and women every year in the United States.

What causes HPV?

HPV is often referred to as a sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, HPV can be spread simply by skin-to-skin contact. Most people get HPV through sexual activity, either vaginally, anally, or orally, with an individual who already has the virus.

Usually, HPV occurs when the virus slips into the body, which can occur if there are abrasions on the skin or during sexual activity. Some types of HPV cause lesions or warts, and these warts are highly contagious, whether they are on the genitals or otherwise

Some people are more at risk of HPV than others, including:

  • Those with a higher number of sexual partners

  • Those with a weakened immune system

  • Those who use public showers or swimming pools

  • Those who commonly have unprotected sex with multiple partners

When the male body needs more testosterone than what is available, the pituitary gland tries to produce more LH. However, LH needs one important thing: hCG. This particular hormone is actually an analog of LH, and without enough hCG, the body may not produce enough testosterone or LH, which affects sperm quality.

Symptoms of HPV

In general terms, HPV most often exists without apparent symptoms. Usually, the immune system kicks in when the virus enters the body and fights it off, even though the fight can take a while. However, HPV can sometimes lead to the development of warts. Depending on what type of HPV enters the body, warts can show up in different places and have different forms. For example, some people will experience genital warts, which show up as bumps that have a raised texture a bit like cauliflower. In women, genital warts caused by HPV usually show up around the vulva, but they may also come up in the vagina or on the cervix.

HPV and Cervical Cancer

Research indicates that pretty much all types of cervical cancer are directly tied to HPV infections. However, after an infection, it may take as long as two decades for cervical cancer cells to develop. Much like HPV, cervical cancer may not always come along with noticeable symptoms. This is why women are recommended to have a regular Pap test every three to five years once they turn 21. These tests detect the presence of precancerous cervical changes that could potentially lead to cancer. In other words, the Pap test may be deemed abnormal when the test finds cellular changes caused by HPV.

Some doctors prefer to perform a DNA test along with a Pap test. These tests are designed to point out HPV varieties that are most likely to cause cervical and other cancers of the genitalia. These tests are commonly done in women over the age of 30.

Women who have an abnormal Pap test or HPV test may have to undergo a colposcopy. The colposcopy offers the doctor a magnified look at the cervical area. Sample tissue may be taken with a biopsy to determine if precancerous lesions are present. If there are precancerous lesions, the doctor may determine that surgical removal of the lesions is necessary to prevent cancerous growth.

Most other treatments are aimed at targeting warts that are caused by HPV. Topical administrations of salicylic acid, imiquimod, podofilox, and trichloroacetic acid may help get rid of warts, even though several applications are required and side effects are common.

A relatively new idea in treating HPV to reduce the risks of cervical cancer is in the form of a compounded intravaginal gel. The product is referred to as Deflamin/Deflagy/Selogyn. The primary ingredients in these treatments include the antioxidant selenium and silicon dioxide. Treatment regimens may vary depending on the patient, but the general regimen involves inserting 5ml of the compounded medicine into the vagina for three to six months.

The combination treatment Selogyn is best suited for patients that have an abnormal Pap test with cell classifications of CIN1 or CIN2, high-grade atypical squamous epithelial cells, or minor to moderate dysplasia. The silicon dioxide particles in the gel absorb cervical-surface pathogens, inhibits their spread, and then relieve the cervical epithelium. The antioxidant selenium, which has been used for viral disease and uterine inflammation for many years, neutralizes these absorbed pathogens.

Several documented studies have shown the combination of these agents to be effective for HPV treatment. In one study involving 182 patients in the treatment group and 123 in the control group, the treatment group receiving Selogyn experienced a remission rate of 71 to 77 percent with abnormal cell findings on their Pap test.

In another study, researchers examined the efficacy of an intravaginal gel containing selenite, siliceous dioxide, and citric acid to promote the regression of abnormal cervical cell findings. After three months of treatment, 100 treated women with previously abnormal cervical smears had an 80 percent improvement. Around 53 percent of the cases experienced a clearing of HPV. The 106 untreated women in the control group did not experience clearance of HPV within the three-month study window. Natural clearance rates for HPV are two-year regression rates between 35 and 53 percent. This seems to indicate the gel promoted HPV regression quicker and more often.

Lastly, one study involved 172 women with a diagnosis of high-risk HPV. Seventy-five of the women received an absorptive and antioxidant vaginal gel for three months, while 97 patients received no treatment. Regression was observed in 57 of the 75 treated patients, while only 24 of the 97 patients experienced regression.

If you have been diagnosed with HPV, especially HPV that leaves you at a high risk of cervical cancer, talk to your doctor about combination treatments that may help. At Harbor Compounding Pharmacy, we offer a vaginal gel made with selenium and silicon dioxide that has a pH of 3 to support vaginal health through treatment. Reach out to talk to one of our pharmacists about available treatments.

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