What Every Woman Should Know About HPV

What Every Woman Should Know About HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a collection of over 200 viruses. Some of these viruses carry a low risk of complications, while others are linked to the development of certain types of cancers.

HPV viruses are transmitted sexually and can be found in the genital area, the mouth, and the throat. Symptoms of HPV in women include genital warts and itching and burning in the genital area.

In most women, HPV doesn’t cause problems. However, if your immune system is dysfunctional, you may be at higher risk of developing certain types of cancers. 

To help you get a better understanding, we asked our expert, Dr. John Macey, all about HPV. Read on to find out who is more likely to experience complications and how often you should get tested for the virus. 

Who is at risk of developing HPV complications? 

Most people clear out HPV viruses on their own. However, the following risk factors may reduce your immune system's ability to fight viruses:

One way to protect yourself against HPV complications is the HPV vaccine. The current HPV vaccine protects against 18 types of human papillomavirus. Vaccines are designed to work against strains of HPV that are more likely to cause cervical cancer. 

HPV testing and treatment

Most women under the age of 30 years old are exposed to HPV and clear the virus without problems. However, for women above the 30, specialists recommend pap smears.

If the test shows that you have HPV, it may be an indication that your body can’t clear the virus on its own, which raises your risk for complications. 

When conducting a pap smear, Dr, Macey uses a small spatula to collect cells from the cervix. He sends these cells to a lab where they’re analyzed.

Fortunately, an abnormal pap smear is rarely a sign of serious complications. Most cervical cancers develop slowly, and when cells do show abnormalities, there are available treatments that can prevent the onset of cancer.  

If you’re experiencing unpleasant symptoms or simply want to determine whether you’re healthy or not, contact us to schedule an appointment. Dr. Macey will be more than happy to answer all of your questions and let you know if you need to get tested for HPV.

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