HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that usually resolves on its own. However, in some cases, it can cause warts and increase the risk of cervical cancer. To prevent your risk of HPV, the team at North Atlanta Women's Specialists, with an East Cobb office in Marietta, Johns Creek office in Duluth, and Northside and Midtown offices in Atlanta, Georgia, offers vaccinations against HPV, as well as advanced testing and treatment to help women with HPV infections. To schedule an appointment, call your nearest office or book online.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus, a large family of about 100 very common viruses that can be spread through sexual contact.
HPV is so common that most sexually-active people will become infected at some point, and usually, the body is able to clear the virus from the body without causing any symptoms.
Sometimes, though, HPV can cause genital warts and increase the risk for certain cancers including cervical cancer. HPV can also cause outbreaks in or around the mouth and in the throat, and some studies have linked the virus to an increased risk of oral cancer.
No. While all three can be transmitted through sexual contact, they are unrelated and require different treatments.
HPV can be diagnosed during a pelvic exam through a Pap test or an HPV test. During the exam, a small number of cervical cells are removed from the surface of the cervix and evaluated under a microscope.
If the test yields an abnormal result, your provider at North Atlanta Women's Specialists performs a second exam using a special magnifier called a colposcope to evaluate the area more closely.
Small tissue samples or biopsies will be taken of any abnormal areas and examined in a lab to determine if HPV is present.
Genital warts are fleshy, firm bumps or lumps that form around the genitals or anus. When HPV causes genital warts, warts may be treated with topical medications.
North Atlanta Women's Specialists offers in-office procedures to remove warts by excising them include using heat to burn them off (a treatment called loop electrosurgical excision procedure or LEEP) or using liquid nitrogen to freeze them off (cryosurgery).
Lasers can also be used to remove warts. Once warts are removed, they may return in some women, but there are steps patients can take to reduce the frequency of flare-ups.
HPV may be prevented by practicing safe sex, but it can be transmitted orally as well as through vaginal and anal sex, so prevention can be difficult.
The best way to prevent HPV is to be vaccinated against infection, ideally during the teenage or preteen years prior to becoming sexually active.
To schedule your HPV vaccination, call North Atlanta Women's Specialists or book an appointment online today.