Highlight text to annotate itX
There may be no cure for HPV or cervical cancer, but there are a lot of things you can do to
prevent and treat them. Here's Dr. Isabel Blumberg with more.
PHYSICIAN: DR. ISABEL BLUMBERG
The best way you can protect yourself against HPV is to avoid direct contact with the virus.
Visible genital warts can be a sign of HPV, but in most cases there are no signs or symptoms
of the virus. Because of this, unless you're in a monogamous relationship with a partner
who's free of STDs, use a *** every time you have sex.
For girls and young women, another preventative measure is an HPV vaccine. The national Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine vaccinations for girls 11 and 12 years
old. This is the age when the body responds best because it’s busy building up the immune
system for later life. But, it’s also advised that girls as young as 9 and women up to 26
years old be vaccinated if they haven't already received it. Because HPV spreads through ***
contact, the vaccine is most effective if given to girls before they become sexually
active. This vaccine doesn't offer protection from all types of HPV — or other sexually
Some women are more likely to develop cervical cancer, though we don’t know why. We do
know that cigarette smoking increases the risk of both precancerous changes and cancer
of the ***, so it’s just one more good reason not to smoke.
If you have genital warts, HPV, or cervical cancer, you have several treatment options
to choose from. Since HPV is a virus, there is no cure for the infection, but there are
treatments to alleviate its symptoms. The good news is that in many cases, HPV clears
up on its own. If you have small warts, your doctor can remove
them by one of three methods: Freezing, or cryosurgery; Burning, or electrocautery
or; Laser treatment. If you have large warts that have not responded
to other treatment, you may need to have surgery to remove them.
It’s important to remember that no one treatment is best, and warts can return, especially
during the first 3 months after treatment. Antiviral drugs may be prescribed if treatments
don’t stop the warts from coming back. If you are pregnant, genital warts can cause
problems and may need to be removed for a safe delivery of the baby.