January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Many women know about HPV and that can cause Cervical Cancer but don’t know much more than that. We’ve asked guest blogger, Dr. Marie Niechwiadowicz, what she can tell us about HPV.
What can you tell us about HPV (Human Papillomavirus), what causes it, how it can be prevented, what the risks are and how it is related to cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer, abnormal pap smear, cancer insitu. These are words that strike fear. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a group of over 150 related viruses. HPV is very common, occurring in up to 80% of the population. Sometimes an abnormal pap smear can simply be caused by a yeast infection. There are 40 variants that affect the genitalia of men and women (mouth, vagina and anus) and a fraction of these viruses can be related to types of cervical, vaginal, anal and oral cancer. Testing for women is usually a pap smear but a urine test is available for both genders to detect for all strains of the virus. Vaccines are available but they only protect against a few strains. These strains are mostly the ones that cause genital warts and not the cancer causing strains. Keeping a strong immune system always protects against viruses of any kind, including HPV. Using basic safe sex procedures such as condoms, dental dams and finger cot/gloves is important in preventing HPV. If you do have HPV there are treatments available including suppositories, LEEP, conization and Escharotic treatments. Remember, HPV is not a guarantee of cervical cancer but ignoring an abnormal pap can lead to future complications.
Be Well. Dr. Marie
If you have additional questions for Dr. Marie, she can be reached via her website.
Dr. Marie Niechwiadowicz (say Neck-vee-ah-do-vich or alternate Dok-tor Ma-ree) is a graduate of Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a licensed primary care physician in the state of Arizona who focuses on evidence-based medicine. Focusing on the connection between neurology and endocrinology, Doctor Marie utilizes numerous naturopathic methods including diet, acupuncture and medication to treat cases varying from erectile dysfunction, chronic pain, incontinence and hormone imbalances. Doctor Marie is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association (AZNMA), and the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). Dr. Marie believes the role of medicine is to optimize health whether the patient is a professional athlete looking to increase performance or a patient with chronic disease looking to improve quality of life.