What should I know about HPV, human papilloma virus, and what are its signs and symptoms?

>> Thursday, November 18, 2010

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Dear KnowYourV,  

What should I know about HPV, human papilloma virus, and what are its signs and symptoms?" 

This has become one of the most commonly asked questions recently, since HPV is a sexually transmitted virus and the #1 cause of cervical cancer worldwide.

As women come in for their annual exams and pap smears, questions arise about HPV testing and detection. Infections by genital HPV are very common. In fact, over 70% of people who are sexually active will contract the virus at some point in their lives. Yet many will not know it because they will not have any symptoms.

Whether or not symptoms occur has to do with the type of HPV, and there are more than 100 types of this virus. Some types of HPV are associated with genital warts, either visible or flat and not visible. Other types of HPV are associated with cervical and other cancers, with no warts nor other noticeable symptoms. Still more common forms of HPV produce warts on other parts of your body like your hands and feet. Many people who get genital HPV will clear it spontaneously over time, however, the longer it stays in your body (and depending on which type of HPV you have), the higher the risk for cervical, anal or oral cancer.

Since HPV infections are contracted through sexual contact, many women have concerns about their current partner and how to find out when they contracted the virus. Women in monogamous relationships who have tested positive for HPV worry about re-infection from their partner, if their partner is positive, or protecting a negative partner.

For most women, it is an abnormal pap smear that first alerts them to a positive HPV test. Like most viruses, HPV has an incubation period, and it is possible to be infected with the virus even years earlier, only to have it lay dormant. During times of stress to the body, either emotional or physical, the HPV can re activate, just like we experience with cold sores or acne outbreaks.

As I've explained previously, the prevalence of HPV and its dormant period can make it impossible to know who the infection originated from – a current partner or a previous one. We can contract it during our first sexual experience and it may not be detected until years later on a pap smear.

Concerns about HPV are increasing, as they are now finding oral and throat cancer on the rise due to viral infections from oral sex . There has also been recent publicity about celebrities that have battled throat and anal cancer.

HPV has become the most important reason for women to come in for their annual exams and pap smears. Also, good dentists will screen for any suspicious or HPV-type oral lesions during your routine exams. Thankfully, most gynecologists now report that cervical cancer has been on the decline in America due to early detection of High Risk HPV.

Women tend to be at an increased risk as their bodies tend to function as incubators for such viruses when semen is deposited. So, it is best to get up after sex and rinse out that semen with the amazing WaterWorks System. It may look and act like a douche but works nothing like it. It is completely reuseable, and uses only natural tap water, no chemicals. The stainless steel nozzle coupled with the downward gentle sprinkling action of the water makes it unique. The stainless steel reacts with the water and vaginal wall to remove unwanted odor, and the gentle sprinkling action of the water cleans and rinses out any remaining semen. This has helped so many women feel cleaner, fresher and odor-free without the use of medication or douching, which can be harmful to the natural environment of the vagina.

So keep up the good work, stay healthy, eat right and get out there and move your muscles around. You will start to feel much better.
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