Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a serious health issue and the leading cause of cervical cancer. That’s why Tina Mehta, DO, FACOG, and Melissa Kushlak, DO, FACOG, of Elite OB/GYN offer screening and vaccination for HPV. To learn more about HPV and the importance of preventing and detecting an infection, book a visit at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, practice today. Online scheduling is available, or you are always welcome to call to set up your visit.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus, which is actually a group of more than 150 different viruses. Each type of HPV is numbered. Your body seems to fight off some types of HPV with no apparent health consequences, but other types can pose serious health risks.
HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer and can cause cancer of the vulva and vagina, too. Women can also develop certain cancers of the mouth, throat, anus, and rectum based on an HPV infection. An estimated 80% of men and women will experience an HPV infection at some point in their lives.
HPV is most commonly spread through sexual activity, but the virus can also spread through skin-to-skin contact.
One reason why HPV is so common is that an infection doesn’t always lead to symptoms. In fact, it’s possible to have an infection and have no idea, which is part of why HPV is so prevalent.
Warts are a common symptom of HPV and can appear on your genitals, hands, feet, or other areas of your body. They’re rarely painful, but genital warts can sometimes itch.
Cervical cancer is another symptom of HPV. In fact, many women are only diagnosed with HPV after receiving a diagnosis of cervical cancer. A Pap smear is the best way to detect changes in your cervical cells and should be part of your routine well woman care.
There is no cure for HPV, but treatment can help eliminate warts. Topical medications can destroy wart tissue or help your immune system fight HPV. These treatments can irritate the surrounding skin.
Other options for removing warts include cryotherapy to freeze them away, electrocautery to burn away the targeted tissue, or traditional or laser surgical removal.
If you receive a diagnosis of cervical cancer, your treatment is determined by how advanced the cancer has become and your overall health. Some treatment options include:
You and your specialist will work together to devise a treatment plan that’s right for you.
The most effective tool for prevention is a vaccine called Gardasil 9. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for both boys and girls during early adolescence, prior to the start of sexual activity.
Other ways to reduce your risk of contracting HPV include limiting your number of sexual partners, being in a mutually monogamous sexual relationship, and using a latex condom during all types of sexual contact.
If you’d like to learn more about the HPV vaccine or would like a diagnostic workup, schedule an appointment at Elite OB/GYN today. You can reach the office by phone or use the online scheduling tool to book your visit.