HPV, or the Human Papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost all sexually active people may contract HPV in some form during their lives. Susan Probst, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Berk's Womens Health in Reading, Pennsylvania, has extensive experience treating HPV — especially high-risk HPV — and helps patients successfully manage the issues associated with the virus. To learn more about HPV and how it may affect you, contact Dr. Probst for an appointment.
HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, encompasses approximately 200 different strains, and is a sexually transmitted disease that usually causes warts to appear on the body. More than 40 HPV strains are sexually transmitted in both men and women in one of three ways: vaginally, anally, or orally.
Because of the sheer number of viruses that count as HPV, the CDC estimates that almost one in four people in the United States are currently infected with HPV, and about 14 million people become newly infected each year. A majority of HPV cases don’t result in any health issues and resolve themselves on their own. For patients who experience HPV-related health problems, the main complaint is genital warts. In less common cases, certain cancers are attributed to HPV infections.
Most people infected with HPV are unaware of its existence because they don’t have any outward symptoms of the disease and it usually goes away on its own. There’s also no definitive test that can assess your HPV status, making it more difficult to determine its presence.
The most common symptom of HPV is the formation of genital warts. Genital warts typically appear as small bumps in the vaginal or anal regions and can show up at any time after infection, sometimes even several years later. There are many effective treatments for genital warts, and Dr. Probst will find the one that’s best suited to your case.
Another sign of the presence of HPV is an abnormal result in a Pap test. While a Pap test does not specifically test for HPV, the presence of abnormal cells on the cervix found by the Pap test may warrant further investigation.
Ultimately, regular exams are the most important tool in battling the potential side effects of HPV because they allow Dr. Probst to address issues before they turn into something bigger.
High-risk HPVs are persistent infections that can cause certain types of cancers, the most common being cervical cancer. The presence of high-risk HPV doesn’t necessarily lead to cancer. In fact, most cases never cause any health problems, but about 11,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year, so high-risk HPV strains necessitate watching. Dr. Probst specializes in high-risk HPV by providing regular examinations and testing to monitor any changes that could signal a more serious problem. Tests include:
In most cases, persistent infections can be treated successfully, and Dr. Probst has extensive experience in this area. For expert diagnosis and treatment for HPV, call Berks Women’s Health today to schedule an appointment.