HPV infections are common, and most infections clear up on their own. But when an infection persists, it can cause genital warts and increase your risk for cancer. At her practice in Turlock, California, Dr. Fatemeh Pazouki offers HPV screening as well as treatment for women who have chronic HPV infections. Plus, she offers HPV vaccines to help young patients at OBGYN Turlock reduce their risks of becoming infected. Should you need to discuss HPV with Dr. Pazouki, please call or book an appointment online today.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted disease. In fact, HPV is so common, most sexually active people will wind up coming in contact with the virus at some point during their lives. In most cases, your body will be able to fight off the virus. But sometimes, the virus causes a chronic infection, resulting in genital warts and an increased risk for cervical cancer.
HPV is detected with a simple, painless test that’s performed during a routine pelvic exam. Similar to a Pap smear, an HPV test uses a small sample of cells taken from the surface of your cervix. The sample is evaluated under a microscope and checked for abnormal changes that are associated with HPV infection. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends HPV screening every five years for most women. HPV can also be detected with an in-office evaluation called colposcopy.
Colposcopy uses a special magnifying device and a bright light to examine your cervix so Dr. Pazouki can look for abnormal tissue that could be cancerous or precancerous. The colposcope is positioned outside your vaginal opening. If Dr. Pazouki finds an area of abnormal tissue, she’ll take a small tissue sample (or biopsy) for further evaluation in a lab.
The HPV vaccine is an injection that prevents infection with serious types of HPV. The CDC has established the following vaccine recommendation guidelines:
Ideally, the vaccine should be administered before you become sexually active. However, even among women who are already sexually active, it can still provide protection against future infection.
Most HPV infections clear up on their own without any treatment, but for infections that persist and cause symptoms like warts, Dr. Pazouki may recommend:
If you’ve been diagnosed with an ongoing or chronic HPV infection, Dr. Pazouki might recommend more frequent monitoring to look for abnormal changes associated with cervical cancer.