Ladies, when you consider a pap smear to help test for abnormalities of the cervix, you are doing yourself the biggest favor of all to support a healthy body. The Pap smear is a painless gynecological procedure that requires an instrument called the speculum to obtain cells from the vaginal canal and determine if the cells gathered indicate existence of precancerous growths. The Pap smear is a great test to find these abnormalities and allows for treatment to ensue before precancerous cells progress.
A new study revealed that more than two-thirds of healthy American adults are infected with human papillomavirus (HPV). Although this may sound shocking it is nothing to worry about at this point because most types of the virus are benign, and usually clear up without causing infection. Harmless wart viruses may help control the types that cause warts and cancer, according to researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center.
Currently there are 109 known different types of HPV. The high risk of HPV types are known as types 16 and 18, which cause cancers of the cervix, anus, penis and mouth, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. HPV types 6 and 11 cause lesions and genital warts, and there are vaccines that protect against them.
What researchers noted was that 61 percent of the infections were found on the skin. HPV was found in 41 percent of samples from the vagina and 30 percent from the mouth. Although there is broad evidence of normal HPV in people it does not indicate living with harmful infection forever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that most sexually active men and women are bound to have at least one type of HPV at one point in their lifetime, but the infections clear up without causing harm.
Pap smears should be scheduled for every two years in all women after, sexually active or not. If you would like to learn more about your Pap test and protection against HPV, please contact our office to at (614) 882-4343, and schedule an appointment.