Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States.

The physicians at OBGYN Associates of Des Moines encourage you to have regular check-ups.

HPV is the name of a group of viruses that can be picked up from many sources, including sexual intercourse.  Many types of HPV don’t cause health problems.  The sexually transmitted HPV can cause genital warts, while others – the high-risk viruses – can lead to cancer.  While high-risk HPV infections can go away on their own, if they stay in your body, they integrate into normal cells, causing the cells to grow abnormally.  If they go untreated, they become cancerous.

Genital warts:  these may look like a flat wart, clustered bumps, or a stem-like projection from the skin.  They will generally appear on the external genitalia, but they can also develop in the vagina, on the cervix and near the anus.   Genital warts are usually not painful, but they can be itchy.

Cervical Cancer: In the early stages, cervical cancer doesn’t cause symptoms.  As the cancer grows into surrounding tissues you may have the following symptoms:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding: Bleeding may be longer or heavier than normal, or you may have bleeding after sex, between periods, or after menopause.
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina may include blood and occur between periods.
  • Pain during sex

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have cancer, but they should not be ignored.  Call our office and schedule an appointment today as soon as you notice symptoms.

You can lower your chances of getting infected by getting one of the approved vaccines or by using condoms when having sex.  Scheduling regular preventive screenings for cervical cancer and HPV virus is so important to assure it is caught at an early stage.  The doctors at OBGYN Associates will let you know how often you should be tested.