Coping with Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV)

If you or your partner have just been diagnosed with human papilloma virus (HPV), you are certainly not alone. HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In fact, it is believed that nearly everyone who has had sex has been exposed to HPV.

If you’re stressed about an HPV diagnosis, know there are things you can do to help deal with this infection.

This article will explain how to diagnose HPV and ways to strengthen your immune system to help your body fight the virus. It will also cover where to find support and how this diagnosis can affect your sex life.

How is HPV diagnosed?

There are generally two ways you can find out that you have HPV. You may have been diagnosed with genital warts, which are raised or flat bumps, or you may have tested positive for HPV on a screening test called a Pap smear.

What happens next depends on your specific symptoms and screening tests. Your healthcare provider will recommend appropriate treatment or follow-up. Remember, most HPV cases go away within two years without treatment.

How can you strengthen your immune system to fight HPV?

There are things you can do to strengthen your immune system and help your body clear the virus.

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You may also want to discuss getting the HPV vaccine with your doctor. Even if you already have HPV, getting vaccinated can help prevent other types of viruses, including those that can cause cancer.

quit smoking

If you are a current smoker and you have HPV, you should do your best to quit smoking.

Smoking is thought to lower your immunity, which affects your body’s ability to fight off diseases, including HPV infection. People who smoke also have a higher risk of contracting many types of HPV.

Is it possible to get the same STI twice?

relieve pressure

When your body’s levels of stress hormones increase, your immune system doesn’t work properly. This means that you cannot fight infections, such as HPV, very effectively.

It is very important to make changes in your life to lower your stress levels. Activities such as yoga, connecting with friends, and meditation can help reduce the effects of stress on the body.

What is cortisol?

review your diet

Experts are somewhat divided on whether diet helps the body get rid of HPV.

Some B-complex vitamins are thought to be effective at boosting your immune system. These include riboflavin (B2), thiamine (B1), vitamin B12 and folic acid. Making sure your diet includes foods rich in these B vitamins is certainly not harmful and may help.

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How do you find support for HPV?

Being diagnosed with an STI can be stressful, but you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about getting HPV. You may be surprised to learn that once you open up to a trusted family member or friend about your diagnosis, you will find that many people have dealt with the infection.

Talk to your healthcare provider about local resources for individuals diagnosed with HPV. For online support groups, you can check the American Sexual Health Association website.

Remember, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and you’re not alone.

review

Talk to your doctor or visit the American Sexual Health Association website for resources about individuals diagnosed with HPV.

How much do you know about human papillomavirus (HPV)?

Can HPV Affect Your Sex Life?

Being diagnosed with HPV is not a fatal blow to your sex life. If you are being treated for genital warts, you may only need to sit still for a few weeks. Remember, having a sexual partner and using protective measures can help reduce your risk of contracting another STI.

Because genital warts are easily spread through skin-to-skin contact, your current sexual partner may want to check them out, too.

generalize

You may find out you have HPV through a routine Pap smear, or if you’ve been diagnosed with genital warts. While most HPV cases clear up on their own within two years, your doctor may also recommend treatments for your specific symptoms and support resources.

To help boost your immune system so your body can fight HPV, you may consider quitting smoking, lowering your stress levels, and changing your diet.

Remember, HPV is common, and you’re not alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you know if you have HPV?

    Most people infected with HPV have no symptoms. Only people with a cervix, the lower part of the uterus that leads to the vagina, can be tested. However, if you or your partner notice genital warts, you should seek immediate medical attention.

  • Is HPV a lifelong infection?

    Usually not. HPV infections usually clear up within a few months without treatment, and about 90% clear up on their own within two years. However, some people may have long-term symptoms or develop cervical cancer.

  • How do you know when HPV has gone away?

    If you have no symptoms, you may not know when the infection has cleared your system. If you have symptoms, your doctor will be able to tell you when you are no longer infected.