Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. HPV can also cause cervical cancer. The physicians at Martin, Lee & Page OBGYN encourage you to protect your health with regular checkups and to consider getting the HPV vaccine. Women in Memphis, Tennessee, can schedule an appointment by calling the office or using the online booking agent to learn more about preventing HPV.
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the name of a large group of viruses that can be picked up from a variety of sources, including sexual intercourse. Many types of HPV don’t cause health problems. Of the sexually transmitted HPV viruses, some cause genital warts, and others — called high-risk HPV — cause cancer.
Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. High-risk HPV infections can go away on their own, but if they stay in your body, they can cause the cells to grow abnormally. When they’re not treated, they progress to become cancer.
The HPV virus alone seldom causes symptoms. Symptoms only arise if the virus causes warts or cervical cancer.
Genital warts may look like a flat wart, clustered bumps, or a stem-like projection from the skin. Genital warts usually appear on the external genitalia, but they can also develop in the vagina, on the cervix, and near the anus. They’re usually not painful, but they may be itchy. Genital warts don’t usually signal cancer.
In the early stages, cervical cancer doesn’t cause symptoms. As the cancer grows into surrounding tissues, you may experience:
These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have cancer, as they can be signs of other infections or gynecologic problems, but they should never be ignored.
You can significantly lower your chance of contracting HPV by getting one of the approved vaccines or by using condoms every time you have sex. It’s also important to get regular preventive screening for cervical cancer and the HPV virus, so they can be caught at an early stage.
Please schedule an examination at Martin, Lee & Page OBGYN as soon as you notice symptoms or if it’s been a while since your last preventive screening. Call the office or book online.