It’s estimated that about 80% of women will get a form of human papillomavirus (HPV) at some point in their life. While not all forms of HPV are harmful, some strains increase your risk of cervical cancer. Steven R. MacDonald, MD, is an OB/GYN and women’s health expert in Plano, Texas, who provides testing and treatment for HPV, as well as vaccinations. To learn more about this common sexually transmitted disease (STD), call the office or schedule an appointment using the online booking button.
HPV actually refers to a group of viruses that include over 100 types, of which about 40 are passed through sexual contact and collectively referred to as genital HPV. HPV is the most common STD in the United States.
While certain strains of genital HPV resolve on their own, some may lead to other health issues, especially in women. The health concerns surrounding HPV include:
While genital warts are a symptom of certain strains of HPV, most strains don’t cause symptoms so you may have no idea you’ve even contracted the STD.
Dr. MacDonald tests for HPV during your pelvic exam. The HPV test is similar to your Pap smear in which Dr. MacDonald takes a sample of cells from your cervix and has it tested for certain strains of HPV.
Dr. MacDonald recommends all women age 30 and over get tested for HPV. He may also suggest testing for women in their 20s if they have an abnormal Pap smear. If you have not already received your vaccine for HPV, Dr. MacDonald may suggest it as a means of protection against the virus depending on your age.
The HPV vaccination is a treatment that protects you from the strains of HPV linked to cervical cancer. Girls should get vaccinated between ages 11 and 12. However, if you’re younger than 26 and haven’t been vaccinated, talk to Dr. MacDonald about your vaccination options.
To boost your immunity against HPV, you need two to three doses of the vaccine over a six to 12 month period.
If your HPV test results come back positive, it means you have a strain of HPV that increases your risk of cervical cancer. Dr. MacDonald develops a specialized treatment plan for you to monitor your health, which may include a follow-up test in a year to monitor for cervical changes.
Dr. MacDonald may also recommend a colposcopy, which is a procedure in which he uses a special gynecological tool fixed with a magnifying lens to better evaluate your cervix. If he finds abnormal tissue, he may conduct a biopsy for further testing.
If abnormal cells are found, Dr. MacDonald removes those cells.
For testing, treatment, and prevention of HPV, call Steven R. MacDonald, MD.