So why is there so little information about how to deal with it?
In this article we aim to displace all the myths and pinpoint the reasons behind its prevalence in transmission and why you shouldn’t give up hope if you contract it.
How Is It Transmitted?
HPV is transmitted through sexual intercourse, but many people don’t realise that they even have it. Contrary to popular belief, men are able to contract and carry the virus as well as women, although the potential effects that can develop from men having the infection are not as severe as for women.
While men can develop genital warts through having human papillomavirus, in rare cases women can develop cervical cancer as indicated by the abnormality of their cells in their cervix.
How Can I Tell If I Have HPV?
HPV is tested for through two tests, the pap smear test and the HPV test. Both can be performed by your gynaecologist and involve examining cervical cells to see that they are normal rather than abnormal.
If your cells are found to be different from normal cervical cells, it is likely they will be examined further, possibly through a colposcopy or through a biopsy of a section of your cervix.
If you are found to have human papillomavirus, you should not worry straight away as there are many different levels of severity. If abnormal cells are to develop into cancer, this process usually takes years, this is why women are encouraged to have regular check-ups to test for HPV and potential cancerous cells in order to seek treatment early if some is required.
So, I’ve Had A Positive Pap Test, What Can I Do About It?
If you’ve had a positive test result, your doctor may decide to perform further diagnosis to ascertain the reason for abnormal cells. This can be an anxiety-inducing time for recipients of the test, but there are certain measures you can take to boost your immune system and better prepare your body for fighting off the infection.
Measure you can take include:
- Stopping smoking – smoking is a well-known pre-cursor to having a weakened immune system. If you are able to curb your smoking habit, this will give your body a better chance of fighting off infection and staying healthy.
- Curbing excessive drinking – like smoking, drinking has been found to have serious effects on your immune system, especially if you regularly drink more than you should. By limiting the amount of alcohol you consume, this can help in the repelling of serious infections like HPV.
- Addressing your diet – there is always something you can do to improve your diet, and we are all guilty of favouring treats over the healthy option at some points. However, if you aren’t getting enough healthy foods over the course of the week, especially in the form of fruit and vegetables, your immune system can seriously suffer. The effectiveness of your immune system is integral to your ability to ward off infection and keep your body in tip-top condition.
- More exercise and lowered stress levels – it has been found that people who exercise, as well as improving their physical strength and endurance, also tend to have healthier immune systems. This also rings true with people who induce less stress in their lives. Stress has been found to be a significant indicator of a weakened immune system, so if you are able to relax and distress at this time, you will be giving your immune system a boost.
- Vitamin supplementation – certain vitamins and nutrients play a vital role in keeping your immune system working as well as it can. The naturopathic doctors at Papillex have developed a unique combination of immune system boosting supplements to help young people in the fight against HPV.