HPV, the STD that affects most men and women in the United States, is a major health concern for adults and children alike. If you are concerned about HPV, visit OB-GYN Associates PC in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to learn about prevention, vaccination, and treatment options. Call or schedule a consultation online with the medical team at OB-GYN Associates PC today to get information and support from practitioners who care.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus spread by skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, oral, or anal sex. HPV is the most common STD in the United States, affecting almost everyone who is sexually active at some point in their life.
HPV enters cells to infect them. Once inside a cell, HPV induces the cell to replicate until there are multiple copies of the infected cell. This abnormal cell proliferation is called dysplasia and may be precancerous.
Unfortunately, HPV has no known signs or symptoms. Both men and women carry the virus, which has more than 150 types. About 40 types of HPV infect the genital area and are easily spread through skin contact.
HPV causes two main conditions: genital warts and cancer. About 12 “low-risk” types of HPV cause genital warts, which can be treated with medication or surgery.
There are 13 types of HPV that cause cancer and are considered “high-risk.” These HPV strains are linked to cancer of the cervix, anus, vagina, penis, mouth, and throat.
In most cases your immune system with fight off an HPV infection. Regular checkups with your team to assess for the presence of genital warts and precancerous changes are crucial to HPV management.
The HPV vaccine, Gardasil®, is available for males and females. The ideal age for vaccination is 11 or 12, but it can be given to people between the ages of 9 and 26.
The vaccination is up to 99% effective at reducing the risk of developing HPV-related cancer when given to someone before they are sexually active.
If your practitioner suspects HPV, they perform a colposcopy. During a colposcopy, your practitioner inserts a specialized magnifying glass into your vagina to examine your vagina and cervix. This is to locate areas of cellular change, or dysplasia, that may indicate cancer.
Further testing and treatment for precancerous changes is performed using the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP). LEEP uses a wire loop heated with electrical current to remove tissue from the vagina and cervix.
The tissue samples are analyzed at the in-house lab to look for signs of cancer. Based on the analysis, your team makes an appropriate diagnosis and provides treatment.
If you want more information about HPV, call OB-GYN Associates PC or schedule a consultation online today.