What Women with HPV Should Know

The human papilloma virus (HPV) includes over 150 different virus types, more than 40 of which can infect the genital region. HPV is a very common type of sexually transmitted infection (STI) that may be transmitted through oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse. Having HPV can be associated with a higher risk of cervical cancer. If you have tested positive for HPV, your gynecologist can help you understand its possible effects on your health and your HPV treatment options.

Normal Monitoring

An HPV infection doesn’t always require treatment. If you tested positive for HPV, yet your Pap smear was normal, your gynecologist may recommend having these tests again in one year. Quite often, women who test again in 12 months do not show signs of pre-cancerous changes or HPV. If this is the case for you, your gynecologist may instruct you to resume your normal testing schedule.

Additional Testing

If you tested positive for HPV and your Pap test results were abnormal, your gynecologist may recommend that you undergo additional tests. Your doctor may perform a colposcopy, which allows him or her to examine the cervix through magnification. Your doctor might also recommend a tissue biopsy. Depending on the results of the additional tests, you may be referred to a gynecologic oncologist.

HPV Treatment

It is not possible to treat the virus itself, as there is no cure. However, a gynecologist can recommend treatment options for problems caused by the virus . Your gynecologist can treat genital warts, for example. He or she might also recommend the removal of the abnormal cervical cells to prevent them from becoming cancerous later on. Your gynecologist may remove these cells during a colposcopy. Other methods of removing abnormal cells include cryotherapy and loop electrosurgical excision procedures (LEEP).

For HPV treatment in Washington, D.C., women can rely on the compassionate gynecology team at Washington Surgi-Clinic. Our gynecology practice provides comprehensive well-woman services, including first and second trimester abortion options, STD testing, and Pap smears. Call (202) 659-9403 for an appointment.