Preventing HPV in Women and HPV Cervical Cancer

Last modified: August 2, 2019

Richard Honaker M.D.
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What is HPV? What are HPV symptoms? What’s the most effective HPV treatment? These questions have become common for most women today. Why is that? Simply because HPV, or human papillomavirus causes nearly all cervical cancer cases.

Many people who get HPV infections though, never have signs or symptoms and most of the cases just go away without getting any form of treatment. But there are specific strains of HPV that could not just infect the cells, but also create issues like warts in the genital area, or cancer.

Did you know that 99% of cervical cancer cases are associated with HPV? With periodic Pap tests, HPV tests, and HPV vaccines, cervical cancer has become easier to prevent. It will also be easier to detect cervical cancer and get immediate treatment once you get familiar with the symptoms.

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

Most people hardly have symptoms during the early stages of cervical cancer. That’s the main reason why getting a periodic Pap test is vital. It’s better to detect and treat precancerous lesions early. Usually, the symptoms become visible when the cancer cells have grown through the upper part of cervical tissue into the tissue underneath.

This happens when the precancerous cells remain untreated. The condition will worsen into an invasive cervical cancer. Sometimes women mistake these regular symptoms as being harmless and non-cancerous.

  • Irregular Bleeding is the most normal and frequent sign of invasive cervical cancer. Bleeding could happen between your monthly periods, or after having sex. It occasionally appears as a blood-streaked vaginal discharge and oftentimes mistaken as just spotting. This could also happen to postmenopausal women who don’t get their periods. So when you suddenly have irregular bleeding, despite already having gone through menopause, consult your doctor immediately.
  • Vaginal Discharge aside from irregular bleeding, women may also experience. Abnormal vaginal discharge, which may be white, transparent, watery, brown, fetid or rancid, and blood tainted.
  • Advanced Symptoms that are more serious signs are more prominent during the later stages. These are back pain or pelvic pains, problems with going to the bathroom, enlargement of one or both legs, exhaustion, and losing weight.

HPV and Cervical Cancer

HPV can be contracted during sexual intercourse. The transfer takes place when an uninfected person’s skin or mucous membrane gets touched by or exposed to an infected person’s skin or mucous membrane. The infection doesn’t usually exhibit any symptoms. That’s the reason why infected people having sex unknowingly transfer the infection to their partners.

They don’t even know that they’re infected. There are more than 40 HPV strains that can be sexually transmitted. Only a few of these HPV strains show manifestations. HPV strains 6 & 11 produce warts in the genital area and not cancer. Some HPV strains produce cancer, but the only HPV strains,16 & 18, cause cancer that’s HPV-related like cervical cancer.

Risk Factors for HPV in Women

Early knowledge of what HPV is, and what the HPV symptoms and risks are will improve your chances of early detection. This could lead to early HPV treatment. The risk factors are sexual intercourse with multiple partners, having your first sexual experience when you are really young, and a diminished immune system.

Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer

The risk factors for HPV cervical cancer include, high-risk HPV in women, orally taking birth control pills continuously and extendedly, diminished immune system, and women who used diethylstilbestrol while pregnant.

Preventing HPV and Cervical Cancer

  • Screening in the form of Pap tests is the best way of preventing cervical cancer if you haven’t had a vaccination against the virus. The test is one of the most dependable cancer-screening tests at hand. What the tests do is detect irregular cells and precancerous changes on a woman’s cervix. Early detection of these deviations paves the way for treatment before these could progress into being a type of cancer. This test can be done while having a pelvic exam. Your doctor will swab the cervix to gather cells that will be examined under a microscope. An HPV test can also be done while having the exam. The gathered cells will be examined for traces of HPV DNA aside from just being under the microscope.
  • Vaccination females who are aged 9 to 26 are encouraged to have a vaccination against HPV to stop an infection, cervical cancer, and warts in the genital area from happening. This will only be effective on women who have not been infected. That’s the main reason why it’s recommended that females get the vaccine before becoming active sexually.

Do you have questions about HPV? If you think you may have HPV or experiencing signs or symptoms of cervical cancer, talk to a doctor immediately. Our free doctor chat may be a good first step. Simply click the button below and chat with a doctor today.


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Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker:

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

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