Women's Healthcare Physicians of Naples
OB/GYNs located in Naples, FL
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, yet many women don’t know they have it because it often doesn’t cause symptoms. Some types of HPV cause cervical cancer, but women between the ages of 9 to 26 can protect themselves by getting the HPV vaccine. Call our offices in Naples, Florida, or schedule an appointment online to discuss HPV.
HPV Q & A
What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the name of a very large group of viruses. In fact, HPV includes more than 100 types of viruses, more than 40 you can pass to a partner through sexual contact.
Most of these viruses don’t cause health problems. However, some of the sexually-transmitted human papillomaviruses cause genital warts. Others, called high-risk HPV, cause cancer.
If you get a high-risk HPV, your body may fight it off. However, if the high-risk virus stays active in your body, it works its way into your cervix where it causes the cells to grow abnormally and develop into cervical cancer.
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by certain types of human papillomavirus.
What are the Symptoms of High-Risk HPV Infection?
It’s important to know that the HPV virus usually doesn’t cause symptoms. You’ll only know you have the virus after it causes warts or progresses to cancerous growths.
- Genital Warts: These usually appear on the external genitalia, but you may find them in your vagina or on your cervix. They may look like a flat lesion, a small bump, or have a small stem. Genital warts don’t become cancerous.
- Cervical Cancer: You won’t have symptoms in the early stage of cervical cancer, which is why getting screened for cervical cancer and HPV at your regular well-woman exam is essential to your health. As cancer progresses you’ll experience:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Unusual discharge
- Pain during sex
If you have any unusual symptoms, please don’t wait to schedule an appointment at Women’s Healthcare Physicians of Naples. Cervical cancer can usually be cured when it’s found and treated at an early stage.
How Can You Prevent Cervical Cancer?
The HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9, helps protect you from cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancer as well as genital warts when you get the vaccine before exposure to high-risk HPV.
Studies show that Gardasil 9 effectively prevents infection and disease from nine HPV types, including seven types that cause cervical and other cancers, and two types responsible for 70% of all cases of cervical cancer.
Girls and young women between the ages of 9 to 26 years can receive the Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine. Call us to learn more at Women’s Healthcare Physicians of Naples.
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