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HPV..questions HPV..questions

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Unread 05-01-2001, 10:31 PM

I read the recent thread about HPV last night. I brought it up to my dr today and just got confused. He's usually very straight forward and will discuss anything, but he may have back-peddled a bit on this.

I'm wondering if there is a test for it and if the biopsy determines if it's there. Many ladies who have had dysplasia may have new partners in the future. Is it something that could affect the man's health? And what about his future partners? Do the doctors really not tell us if they know we have it?

Can anyone clear this up for me?
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Unread 05-02-2001, 12:00 AM

Hi EM , I have the HPV virus. I asked my DR. about this and he backpeddled as well. I asked him what caused my cevical cancer and he said smoking !!! Never smoked in my life. I have had a hard time finding out any information about the virus. I cannot understand why more research is not done into finding a cure and a vaccine. Over here in Australia there is probably even less info than over there.
Unread 05-02-2001, 05:04 AM

The docs are normally informed about research going on, but yet they have to wait until it hits a certain RANK to actually discuss it. Or so I have been told! I guess we just need to hang in there for a while.
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Unread 05-02-2001, 10:25 AM

My doctor has been very good about answering my questions about this. I have HPV-16, which is known to cause cervical cancer. I have to say that the recent thread is disheartening, I was SO looking forward to being rid of the problem with my cervix being removed!

There are many different strains of HPV, and it is sexually transmitted. Only a few strains cause warts and only a few cause cancer. My husband's exgirlfriend had a hysterectomy about ten years ago and was told she had carcinoma in-situ from a wart virus. My husband had no clue that he could possibly transmit it, since he didn't have warts, so didn't tell me anything about it. My doctor says I may not have gotten it from my husband, since it can be dormant for a long time before causing problems, but says he is pretty sure that is where I got it. I never had an abnormal pap until I was pregnant four years ago and have been having problems ever since.

Point is, yes, I believe it can affect a man's future partners. Since it is sexually transmitted, my doctor says the only way to be sure not to carry it to another person is to abstain. Condoms don't prevent transmission since there is still skin to skin contact. It doesn't sound like it can affect the man's health, you KNOW there would be a cure if a man's penis had to be removed for HPV!! The wart strains of the virus can cause warts, even if they aren't visible with your eyes. There is a test, similar to the vinegar test they use on a woman's cervix to find out the severity of involvement. My husband was mortified that he would have to do this test, but since the strain I have doesn't seem to cause warts, my doctor says it would be pointless.

From what my dr said, although I didn't ask specifically, the only way to find the cancer causing HPV is with an abnormal pap smear. He did say that they are developing tests and looking for cures or vaccines for it, but there isn't anything available now. He could have just been talking about the cures and vaccines, but I took it to mean there isn't a specific test for HPV unless you have abnormal test results. I'll ask him specifically about that soon!

If any of you have questions that I can direct to my doctor, I'd be more than happy to do so! He's pretty good and seems knowledgeable. When he doesn't know the answer, he usually takes notes, asks other doctors and then calls me back!

Oh, know what was really funny/stupid? This guy who writes software for infertile women to track their cycles told me that HPV was carried under men's fingernails and if you have it, that's where you got it from, being touched by a man. That sounds so much like something a Catholic mother would tell her daughter, don't be touched by a man down there or you will get cancer!
Unread 05-02-2001, 01:34 PM

So, Zelda & Robyn...you both know you have the virus and Zelda knows what strain. That must mean there is a specific test that shows it.....not just the assumption that because we have dysplasia we might have the virus. Could it be a MAN thing? Circle the wagons so we won't blame our SO's even knowing that they may not even be aware of it?
Unread 05-02-2001, 04:44 PM

Em, believe me, I have played the blame game and it does nothing in the way of getting rid of HPV. If it did, mine would be long gone! Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of people out there who are running around with the virus and have no idea, no symptoms and no problems. Most never will know unless they end up with a problem.

Your doctor was given results from the pap smear that you had, I will assume that you had an abnormal one and that's how you found out about the CIN3? On that result sheet should be more information about what type of abnormal cells were found, how they were tested and what the results were. When you had any type of procedure on your cervix done, all the way from the biopsy to the hysterectomy, there were tests done on the tissue and the pathology report should have the name of the virus found on it. Mine was diagnosed through a viral smear, which is a much more common test than a lot of doctors like you to believe. My obgyn insists on doing the viral smear once he knows a woman is carrying the HPV virus because it is more in-depth and will give more accurate results.

I'm sorry, I didn't understand your earlier post, I thought you were asking if there is a test for the general public to see if they have HPV in their system. For that, I do not believe there is a test, but yes, for a woman who has an abnormal pap smear, it is detectable with the smear tests, as well as the biopsy tests. My dr gave me a general answer after the first pap, then did the viral and another pap and found more details. Then, after I had the laser surgery (similar to a cone only much more extensive), he gave me even more answers, including the strain, the fact that it was cancerous and that he had hopefully gotten it all.

As for blaming the men... we are as much to blame as they are. If I didn't get it from my husband, I got it from someone else and gave it to at least him, if not others. That is a sad thought, especially since the last guy I was with would have gotten it innocently and I know he married a very sweet, nice lady and if she ends up with cancer too, I will really feel bad. Not that I have any way of knowing, I no longer know where they live and cannot contact them to warn them. And not that I know if it would help in any case!

And as for statistics on how many women who have dysplasia also have HPV, I understand that number is pretty high. No one knows exactly because the test results, as you have found, aren't always interpreted and rarely reported. That is getting better now, because so many women ARE being tested and the viral pap is becoming more popular, so more are being reported. This is good, since the more cases there are, the more likely it will be that someone will come up with better treatments,a vaccine or even a cure.

oh and lastly, HPV can go into hiding, which is why a lot of women will test negative for it, or even have an abnormal pap followed by years of normal ones. I think that may be why it is so hard to pin a doctor down on details. It is their way of saying "I dunno" without saying the words!
Unread 05-02-2001, 05:32 PM

Hi Ladies,
I'm kind of new to this section of hystersisters...I usually hang out in the hormone jungle anyway...I was diagnosed with HPV about five years ago. I think that I've had it for about ten years though...got it from my first husband. I had a LOT of vaginal infections during my time with him and pretty much ever since but never had an abnormal PAP until about five years ago. I dont' know for sure what type I have but I get warts and condyloma's (flat shiny abnormal growths). My Mom got her HPV from a tanning bed (she thinks). She only had the one major outbreak but I, unfortunately have had multiple ones. I've had biopsies, and many, many paps prior to my hyst. Like you ladies I thought that my cancer concerns were gone with my cervix. After my hyst I had a MAJOR outbreak...my gyn said that it was due to stress and hormonal imbalance. For me the condyloma's are the worst...I had to have one about the size of a quarter lasered off at the time of my hyst. . When I went to my gyn last month for a regular checkup he found another spot of about four warts which he put acid on (OUCH!) and he told me that they are pretty close to a vaccine. He's not sure when it will be available in the USA or if it wil work for those of us already infected. I told him that I'm willing to be a test subject! I've found that the best thing for me is to keep my immune system at it's best...whenever I get stressed or sick I tend to have an outbreak. Does anyone have any suggestions of things that they have used that seem to help more than others? At the moment I take a lot of the "normal" supplements and L-lysine to help with my immune system. I also put vitamin E oil on my vulva where the condyloma was lasered off. Anybody else have anything that they do to help with the outbreaks? And one more question...I have a friend that is pregnant and has HPV...now I had a csection so it didn't matter...does anyone know if she can pass the hpv virus on to her child if she delivers vaginally? She asked her ob and he said he "wasn't sure"! Thanks!
Unread 05-02-2001, 06:40 PM

Thanks to all for your posts. My main reason for asking is because of the way my dr seemed to dance around it. I just thought if I have it, maybe I should be one of the ones who know it.

And Zelda, I agree that there's no place for blame here. It would be a chicken or the egg thing. By a "MAN thing", I meant my dr is a man and maybe doesn't make a point of it to his patients so they don't get upset with their husbands.
Unread 05-02-2001, 10:02 PM

Gee Em ,you really have opened a hornets nest here . I have no idea how I caught my HPV. could be from my previous husband as he had multiple affairs while we were married. Who knows? Any way me worrying about where I got it is not going to change the fact that I have cancer now. I am worrying about getting through the radiation. Dealande ' I am currently taking lots of immune building herbs , Echinacea is one of the best as is high dose Vit. C. It is a good idea to talk to a health food shop about this.
Guess we can wait and pray that there will be a cure one day soon. love to you all
Unread 05-02-2001, 11:46 PM

I hate to say that I've enjoyed reading this thread, but I have. It's just nice to have an "open" conversation about this. I have a lot of different theories on why our docs don't discuss it much. One, since it's a virus that can hide for a long time (lots of literature says you can have no symptoms for 15-20 years sometimes), they can't tell you when or how you got it (other than that you got it through sex). STDs are an uncomfortable topic--even for doctors. And two, the docs can't have up-to-date information on every gyn problem out there. Some will have a greater interest in this area and so probably do more reading, some have less of an interest so probably don't know as much. I read one study a couple of months ago that followed a few hundred college women that were virgins. Approximately 10% of them contracted HPV after their first sexual encounter with a man. I have no idea what the quality of the study was, but I found it interesting. And yes, it can affect a man, it's just rare. There are a couple hundred known cases of penile cancer (that's pretty rare). It is presumed to be related to this. I don't know how it's treated--probably radiation.

As far as the pregnancy thing. Well, a lot of women probably have this at the time of delivery, and you really don't hear much about it. I have read in a couple of places that on very rare occasions it can affect the baby and is usually seen as growths on the vocal cords which can be lasered off (I believe). I haven't read anything that indicates that these babies actually show up with genital HPV.

I really struggle with this sometimes. I'm not looking for anyone to blame, I just feel guilty about it. And I'm mad about it. To think that something I picked up 20 years ago (that's how long I've been with DH) is causing me all this grief and agony now. But, I guess that's life!! Now, if they could just find a way to take care of the problem. For now, I try to eat well, take my vitamins and stuff, and do my yoga. And of course, pray a lot.

Thanks for the support, sisters. My best to you all.

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