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The HPV Virus and Post Hysterectomy Testing Instructions and Treatment
HPV or the "Human papillomavirus" includes more than 100 types of viruses and more than 40 types of viruses can be transferred through sexual contact.
The type of human papillomavirus that infects the genitals are called genital HPV or genital warts. HPV can have few or no symptoms and can lie dormant for years.
Some forms of the human papillomavirus can cause cancer of the cervix. High risk HPV are the types of HPV that can more often lead to cervical cancer. However just because you have high risk humanpapillomavirus does not mean you have cervical cancer. High risk forms of HPVcan cause changes on your cervix and your physician can monitor any changes when doing your regular Pap smears. People with high risk HPV should always make sure they get their regularly scheduled pap smears so that any changes in the cervix can be treated early.
Low risk HPV most often appears as genital warts. However in some cases people with low risk HPV never get genital warts and never have symptoms, thereby they are never aware they have HPV. The genital warts can develop over weeks, months, or even years after being infected by someone through sexual contact.
If you have ever had any form of HPV and have a hysterectomy you still must have vaginal cuff smears which are somewhat like pap smears even if the cervix is removed in the hysterectomy. This is because even with the cervix removal during the hysterectomy, the cancerous or precancerous cells can still return just as any form of HPV. This vaginal cuff smear is done by scraping the upper part of the vaginal vault and walls.
It is recommended that vaginal cuff smears be done approximately every three to six months.
HPV can infect the vagina vault, vulva and anus even after a hysterectomy and some forms of HPV can still cause cancer in those areas even after surgery. Women that have had cervical cancer are at significantly higher risk for cancer in other genital areas and should be checked regularly.
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Where can Genital Warts Grow?
Genital warts in women:
On the lips or vulva.
Around the opening of the vagina or anus
Inside or around the vagina or cervix and inside the anus
In the groin area
Genital warts in men:
All around and on the penis
On the thighs or groin area
In and around the anus
All around the scrotum
Genital warts rarely grow in the oral cavity or mouth, as well as rarely in the throat. However genital warts can in very rare instances transfer during oral sex with an genital warts HPV infected person.
Genital warts vary in size, some are really small and can barely be detected. Genital warts can be flat or they can be large and bumpy much like cauliflower. Genital warts often appear in clusters or groups and in some instances they may itch or cause some minor discomfort, especially when having sexual contact.
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Understanding HPV treatment options and test results after a hysterectomy
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Treatment Options for HPV Post-Hysterectomy
If you've had a hysterectomy and you are still of age to still qualify for the HPV vaccine it is a good idea to get it. The vaccine does not protect you from all forms of HPV but can significantly reduce the different types of HPV that you can be infected with. The HPV vaccine offers protection from vulva, anal and vaginal cancers as well as possibly some neck and head cancers.
After a hystectomy a woman is still at risk for developing another strain of HPV if they have unprotected sexual contact with an infected person. However developing a strain of HPV after a hysterectomy is low if the woman was not infected prior to the hysterectomy. Therefore, understanding all your treatment options for HPV after hysterectomy is extremely important.
Treatment options include:
- Maintaining observation: Sometimes the virus clears spontaneously. In some cases cervical dysplasia or other cell changes can occur without any treatment.
- Cryotherapy, which involves the freezing of the abnormal cells with liquid nitrogen.
- Conization or a cone biopsy, is a medical procedure that removes the abnormal cell areas.
- Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure is normally referred to as the LEEP procedure. A LEEP is where the abnormal cells are removed using an electrical current medical procedure.
I have been a nurse for over 28 years and regularly educate women on the human papillomavirus. Although many women frequently neglect annual pap smears, if a woman has had an abnormal pap smear in the past showing dysplasia or any positive form of HPV they should have regular pap smears or vaginal cuff smears at least every three or six months. This is because if they continue to show positive and any changes appear in their cervix, vagina wall, anus or vulva they can receive treatment early.