Gynecology Specialists
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Many gyn issues can rob a woman of her sense of well-being and happiness. Our in-office treatments counteract those forces and are:

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Healthy Tips

How to prevent Cervix Cancer and Genital Warts

By Gynecology Specialists Staff

This month we’d like to talk with you about HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, which can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. It is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads and North Carolina.

Some types of the virus, known as “high risk HPV” can cause abnormal cells on the cervix that may turn into cancer. Other “low risk” types of the virus can cause genital warts and non-cancerous changes to the cells on the cervix.

Important HPV facts to consider:

Cervical cancer is not hereditary and is preventable.
Every year in the United States approximately 12,000 women develop cervical cancer and almost 4,000 die.
In the United States, about 1 million new cases of genital warts are diagnosed each year.
It is estimated that up to 80% of sexually active women (and men) will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
Annually in the U.S., there are 6 million new cases of HPV. 74% of these cases are in 15-24 year olds.
Condoms will not prevent the spread of HPV.

The hidden virus
Most people infected do not even know they have HPV because they may not show any signs or symptoms. Therefore, these people can transmit the virus without knowing it. The HPV virus is spread with genital skin contact through vaginal, anal, and oral sex between both heterosexual and same sex partners. Although using a condom can help reduce the risk of transmission, the virus can still be spread through the genital skin that is not covered.

Genital warts can appear externally on the genitals or near the anus, and occasionally inside a woman’s vagina or on her cervix. They are usually soft and fleshy looking, can be grouped or found alone, and may be flat or rise off the skin’s surface. They often do not cause any symptoms, but when they do, they can cause burning, itching or pain.

Genital warts are very common can generally be diagnosed when a gynecologist visualizes them. These warts, which are not life threatening, may resolve spontaneously or may require some form of treatment. Topical products, freezing, burning, lasers, or surgery are all effective treatment options to remove genital warts. However, genital warts will reappear in about 25% of the cases within 3 months.

Abnormal cervical cells caused by HPV are called dysplasia. Dysplasia can be mild, moderate, or severe. The more severe the dysplasia, the more likely it could progress to pre-cancer or cancer. This progression usually takes a few years, but in rare cases cancer may develop within 1 year. The Pap Test is the traditional method for diagnosing abnormal cervix cells (dysplasia). By committing to an annual Pap Test, women increase their chances for early diagnosis of any abnormal cells. Early diagnosis is the key to preventing progression of cervix dysplasia to cancer.

Once an abnormality is detected, additional testing recommended by your gynecologist could include repeat pap smears, HPV DNA testing, colposcopy, and biopsy. These tests help determine the degree of the abnormality, which in turn helps the gynecologist make the best recommendation for management. If the dysplasia is mild, most gynecologists will recommend monitoring the Pap Test.

Mild dysplasia has a very good chance of being resolved by a woman’s healthy immune system without any treatment. In progressed dysplasia, removal of the abnormal cells is usually recommended. This can be done by freezing or “cryo”, removal with an electrical loop instrument or “LEEP”, or other surgery types your gynecologist performs. Any of these treatments could need to be repeated if the abnormal cells return.

How to prevent Cervix Cancer and Genital Warts

Receive the Gardasil Vaccine Series, which we will talk about in our October Tip.
Use protection (although this is not 100% effective).
The fewer sexual partners a woman has in her life, the lower her risk.
Have an annual Pap Test.
Encourage your teenage girls to attend our Nov. 17 “Just for Teens” GYN orientation where we will discuss this topic.

Read more about HVP, cervical cancer, genital warts and the Gardasil Vaccine here.

If you are suffering from HPV, Human Papilloma Virus, Cervical Cancer, Genital Warts, Dysplasia or another GYN issue and live in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads or North Carolina, please contact our GYN clinic at (757) 312-8221. Our gynecologists are here to help you.

About our GYN Clinic

Our three female gynecologists and Nurse Practitioner provide comprehensive gynecology services to girls and women of all ages in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Eastern Shore, Peninsula, Hampton Roads and North Carolina.

Gynecology Specialists  |  516 Innovation Drive, Suite 305, Chesapeake, VA 23320  |  Ph: (757) 312-8221 Fax:(757) 312-8382  |  Medical Disclaimer
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