John A. Whitfield, MD
Gynecology and Gynecologic Surgery located in Fort Worth, TX
Human papillomavirus or HPV infections are the most common sexually transmitted infections in this country - with around 14 million new cases diagnosed every year. At John A. Whitfield, MD in Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Whitfield screens, diagnoses, and treats the many different types of infections that are associated with HPV. Left untreated, HPV can lead to serious precancerous cell changes. Call or click to schedule your HPV vaccination and comprehensive STD screening with Dr. Whitfield today.
HPV Q & A
What is human papillomavirus, or HPV?
HPV, or human papillomavirus, refers to more than 150 different related viruses spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. HPV can be transmitted through vaginal, oral or anal sex with a partner who has HPV.
Some forms of HPV cause warts, or papilloma, on the genitals. HPV also causes cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in some women. Other types of HPV lead to cancer of the mouth and throat, as well as anal and rectal cancer, in men and women.
HPV is so common that most men and women who are sexually active will have it at some point in their lives. For most people, HPV is not serious and goes away on its own without treatment. But a diagnosis is important because HPV causes more serious health problems for others.
How is HPV diagnosed?
Some women have the visible genital warts caused by HPV, but most have no symptoms at all. For all women who are sexually active, Dr. Whitfield uses a Pap smear and HPV screening to test for many types of HPV.
A Pap test or smear is considered the first line of HPV screening. For women with abnormal Pap smear results, Dr. Whitfield uses more extensive HPV testing to determine if DNA or RNA from the viruses that cause most HPV-related cancers is present.
How is HPV treated?
The HPV vaccine can reduce the risk of getting many HPV viruses. Three FDA-approved vaccines are available to protect women against future HPV infections. Though highly effective for prevention, these vaccines don’t successfully treat existing HPV infections and diseases caused by HPV, including cancer.
Genital warts caused by HPV may be annoying and uncomfortable, but they can be treated and aren’t serious. The white or flesh-colored bumps appearing on the genitals can appear once and never again recur over time.
Some women have HPV for months or even years before developing genital warts. Dr. Whitfield removes warts through:
- Topical medication
- Laser vaporization
For more serious, precancerous cervical changes caused by HPV, Dr. Whitfield removes abnormal cells through:
- LEEP electrical excision
Your regular Pap test is so important because HPV often has no symptoms. Early detection is the key to preventing most forms of HPV-related cancer.
For an appointment, consultation or second opinion for your HPV vaccination or a full HPV screening with John A. Whitfield, MD, call or click today.