Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common group of viruses. In fact, almost all sexually active Americans develop HPV at some point. HPV has special significance for women because it causes almost all cervical cancers. Fortunately, most types of HPV don’t cause serious health problems and go away on their own. But, it’s very important to check for HPV as recommended by your doctor. Depending on your age and situation, you may also need an HPV vaccine. At Damon Cobb OB/GYN in Poway, California, the experienced team is here to help with all your gynecology needs. Book online or by phone now.
HPV is a large group of viruses. There are more than 150 different types of HPV, but all are related. Some types of HPV cause warts called papillomas, which is how the virus got its name. Although most cases of HPV resolve without problems on their own, some kinds of HPV can cause cervical cancer or other female cancers.
HPV is passed from one partner to another during sex. Because there are rarely any obvious symptoms, many men or women with HPV don't realize they have it and thus pass it unknowingly to others. Although it's rare, HPV can be passed from mom to baby at the time of delivery.
The HPV vaccine is a smart choice for HPV prevention. Boys and girls should have the HPV vaccine at 11-12 years old but can do so as early as age 9. If you're up to 26 years old, you can have catch-up HPV vaccinations.
According to the American Cancer Society®, the Gardasil® 9 HPV vaccine is approved for use in patients up to age 45, but may not be particularly beneficial for patients over age 26.
Your Damon Cobb OB/GYN doctor can discuss the vaccine with you and make customized recommendations.
Your doctor will recommend an HPV screening schedule based on your needs. Generally, this includes a Pap test every three years from age 21-29. From age 30-65, you need a Pap test every three years, HPV screening every five years, or both tests (co-testing) every five years. After 65, you may be able to stop both screenings, depending on your most recent test results.
If your HPV screening is abnormal, it's not an automatic indicator of cancer. Most cases of HPV go away on their own. But, depending on what your Pap test showed, your doctor may need to take a closer look at the HPV cells during a colposcopy procedure. You may also need a biopsy to check the abnormal tissue.
If you have cancerous cells, early detection through an HPV screening could potentially save your life, so it's an important test to have as recommended.
Click the online scheduler or call Damon Cobb OB/GYN to book your appointment for HPV testing or vaccination today.