What an HPV Diagnosis Means for Your Reproductive Health

The human papilloma virus, or HPV, is a common sexually transmitted disease in both women and men. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 79 million American are infected with HPV, and 14 million more are infected each year. Many people don’t even know they have it because they don’t have symptoms.

The best way to detect HPV is to schedule an appointment for a gynecological exam with Mark P. Schumacher, MD, in Reno, Nevada. If you’re diagnosed with HPV, he’ll help you understand what it means and how it may affect your reproductive health going forward.

What is HPV?

The human papilloma virus is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease caused by a virus. There are more than 40 types of the virus, which can infect the genitals, mouth, and throat. Many people don’t realize they have it, so they don’t take any precautions, which is why it spreads so fast. There are two categories of HPV: low risk and high risk.

Low risk

This strain can cause genital warts, which are small bumps that show up alone or in groups.

High risk

This strain can cause cancer of the cervix, vagina, anus, or cancer of the head and neck.

Diagnosis

To diagnose HPV, Dr. Schumacher first performs a Pap smear. If your test results are abnormal, he may recommend a repeat Pap smear or an HPV test. An HPV test is recommended for women age 30 and above. In women under 29, HPV sometimes disappears on its own.

What about my reproductive health?

If you’re diagnosed with HPV, it’s important to tell anyone you’re sexually involved with. Using a condom may help stop the spread of HPV, but there is no guarantee. The human papilloma virus is something you live with forever. The only way to stop it from spreading is to stop having sex or have sex with a trusted, long-term, monogamous partner.

Genital warts can be treated with medication or by freezing or burning them off. If you’re pregnant, you may need a Cesarean section to protect your baby. A vaginal birth isn’t recommended. If you have precancerous cells, Dr. Schumacher can remove them at the office. If your HPV has already progressed to cancer, you may need medication, radiation, or chemotherapy.

If you have high-risk HPV, Dr. Schumacher will monitor you to make sure your cervical cells stay healthy. Dr. Schumacher can also prescribe medication to help treat the warts. Staying on top of HPV is important to keep it from spreading and to stop it from getting worse. 

If you have HPV or want to see if you do, book an appointment over the phone with Mark P. Schumacher, MD today.

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