does it mean that if you have had abnormal paps in the past that you were a carrier of HPV? I was not tested for HPV until my last 3rd pap----my 3rd pap came back clear and my HPV test came back not detected 2 years ago. Now, 2 years later my pap came back LSIL which means low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. I went for my colposcopy and the doctor said my outside of my cervix looked normal but went up higher and scaped off some cells for a bioposy. I just was wondering if I was exposed to HPV 2 years ago when I was just starting having abnormal paps?
Hi Catherine! You are asking some great questions!
You could have been exposed to HPV as long ago as your first sexual encounter.
Most doctors have only recently begun testing for HPV, especially in women over 30. My doctor ran my test for the first time back in December. It came back positive for high risk HPV. I'm so glad she did it because (long story short) it sent me to a doctor who did the colposcopy and ECC (which I think is what you had), a cone biopsy, and detected my cervial cancer at a very early stage (adenocarcinoma Ia1). I always had my paps and they always came back good for 26 years. I was exposed to high risk HPV at least 16 years ago when my hubby and I first got together, but it is possible I got it from my first husband. There is no way to know for sure.
Because doctors have only recently begun testing for HPV, many people think that means they have recently been exposed. The reality is that anyone who has sexual contact with more than one person (at any point in his/her life) he/she has probably been exposed to at least one of the strains of HPV.
To your first question. A woman can have an abnormal pap smear if she has an infection (yeast, etc), if she has had trauma to her cervix (possibly through intercourse or surgery to the cervix). There are other things that can cause an abnormal pap, but I can't think of all of them right now.
If you want to know for sure what your pap results and/or the colposcopy results, then ask your doctor for copies of the pathology reports. It will tell you what type of tissue was tested and what the results are. It may take some investigation to determine what the words mean, but it is empowering to know for sure what the results say. That knowledge makes me feel more in control (in a situation where I might have no other control).
Anyway, I hope that answers your questions.
Did your doctor take any biopsies of your exocervix with the colposcopy and/or did he/she do an ECC (endocervical curettage)? Just curious.
Take care and write back.
Last edited by Pickle Eyes; 08-18-2008 at 06:37 PM.
I was married to x husband for 26 1/2 years. My x husband was my only sex partner but I know my x spouse had about 3-4 woman before we were married. I did not know this HPV could be present so long ago. I have not had sex in the last 2 years since my divorce and since my last pap test in 2006, which showed ASC-US. It took 3 paps to be negative and my HPV test showed negative at my 3rd pap which my doctors did not test me at the first 2 abnormal pap's in 2006. I recently got married 3 months ago and probably is wondering if my pap smear that turned up LSIL (low grade squamous Intraepithelial lesion) in 2008 if I caught HPV from my new husband?
Hi Pickle Eye, Thanks for taking the time to write back. You are so informative. People ask me why I want to know all about HPV and I said so I can be informative about what is happening to me and help other people who have become infected. It sickens me that I was so darn careful about my sexual partners and to think I might be HPV IRRIATES me!!!
My doctor said she did not see anything at the opening of my cervix but was having difficulty seeing inside my cervix during the colposcopy. That is why she did the other procedure.
She opened me up with some biceps and took a sample of what she scaped off and sent it to the pathologist. I have an appointment this Friday and she also tested me for HPV. Cause I asked her to she did not think I needed to be tested, but I insisted I wanted the HPV test. She probably thought I had HPV because of my abnormal pap. She said most likely I had HPV. But I wanted to make sure. She said she wanted to go up higher past my cervix to be sure since there was no signs at the cervix openings. Does that make any sense? It is sad to reach 50 years old and have to worry about this virus that seems to be uncontrolable to everyone who seems shocked to think they have HPV in later years of therer life!!! HPV is really getting the BUZZ people are learning and rethinking how to be protective against this STD.
She said she wanted to go up higher past my cervix to be sure since there was no signs at the cervix openings. Does that make any sense?
Yep, that makes total sense.
I think of the cervix kind of like a frosted donut. The exocervix (which is about 1/3 of the cervix) is made up of squamous cells. This is the part of the cervix that is scraped during a pap smear. It is also the part of the cervix seen during a colposcopy after it has been swabbed with the vinegar solution. The upper 2/3 of the cervix is made up of glandular/columnar cells. Between the 2 areas is the Transition Zone (TZ) where glandular cells transform into squamous cells (If I remember that correctly). The only way a doctor can know what is going on in the endocervical canal is to do an ECC (endocervical curettage - it scrapes the canal similar to how a pap scrapes the exocervix).
My paps have always come out good (for 25 years, every year). When my gyn did the colpo she didn't need to take any biopsies because she didn't see anything wrong with the exocervix. She did the ECC "just to check". Thank God she did because that is where she found "atypical glanular epithelial [skin layer] lesions and adenocarcinoma in situ."
So yes, what you said your doctor said makes sense.
I agree it is very frustrating to be careful about the number of partners one has, yet still have such damage from this virus. And unfortunately, condoms only offer some protection against HPV since there is still uncovered skin.
Last edited by Pickle Eyes; 08-18-2008 at 09:19 PM.
Reason: typo, but probably missed some ;)
Thank you very much for explaining everything so I can understand what is happening to me. I know now listening to you explain it I got a ECC done. I heard when you are exposed to HPV that you will never get rid of it and it lays dormant in your body. I was wondering when you have the entire cervix scaped and the abnormal cells are taken out can HPV come back once you get rid of it? Man, what a headache till I found out on Friday on my biopsy. Thanks for all your help.
I was wondering when you have the entire cervix scaped and the abnormal cells are taken out can HPV come back once you get rid of it?
It is possible, yes. It is also possible that another HPV strain could cause problems.
There are over 100 strains of HPV. More than 20 of them affect the genitals (including anus, penis, and/or mouth/throat). I'm not sure how many of those 20 are high risk HPV, but there are at least 6.
The best we can do (after being exposed) is to make the best health decisions we can and to get our checkups regularly.
I hope your appointment goes well on Friday. You might want to write your questions and leave room for answers. I always do that when I go to appointments. It helps me remember everything I wanted to ask AND what they say.
It just baffles me that men are carries of HPV and they don't even know it!! If they have HPV and decides to have unprotected sex they are passing it along without even knowing it to their partner. The woman are the ones that have to do all the suffering while the men just go on there marry way. I am trying to say that if they can test for all kind of things why haven't they came up with a test that tells a man if he is a carrier of HPV!! Woman always gets the harder end of everything. Men comes out smelling like a rose.
Does it mean you have HPV when you have an abnormal pap? Or is there something else going on? I guess woman would know exactly what is going on if they were tested for HPV in the first place. That is what happened to me. I was not informed on my first pap in April 2006 that came back ASU-US to get tested for HPV. It took me 3 paps to get a normal reading. On my 3rd pap August 2006 the doctor decides to do a HPV test on me. It came back negative. So, my question to you could I have had the HPV way back from my first pap April 2006 and since I was not tested could I have had it in the first place and not even know it? I heard it stays dormant and I wonder if I got it from my first husband who was not a virgin like I was when we got married. I know what you are going to be thinking once I tell you this----- I did not follow up on my pap's in 2007 because I was with NO insurance. But maybe I can help other people in the same situation that I was in no matter what---- go have your regular pap test and also the HPV test. It could save your life. I recently got married and I have insurance now but there is no excuse not to get your yearly pap's and mammagrams. I am just thankful and it is a blessing that my pap came back LSIL and it could of been a lot worse for me. I am waiting for my biopsy results from a ECC which is tomorrow I should know something. Pickle eye you are the BEST!!! I have learned so much from you and I am taking that knowledge and talking to my friends so they can be informative about HPV and how it is spread.
Catherine, I totally understand your frustration and anger about men being carriers, there not being tests, etc. I've read a bit about there is a test for men, but it isn't approved by the FDA (or whoever approves those tests). I've also heard it is very painful. I wouldn't swear by that, but it seems I read that several months ago.
It is also important for you to know that HPV can be transmitted even if a condom is worn correctly. HPV is passed with skin to skin contact and not all skin is covered by the condom.
It is possible (and quite likely) to have an abnormal pap without having HPV. Abnormal paps might indicate an infection, an injury to the cervix, "foreign subtance" like contraceptive gel, etc. The best way to know what is going on is to ask for a copy of the pap results. I should indicate what type of cells were sampled and what the condition was. It takes a bit of studying to learn the terminology, but knowing the actual words makes me feel more in control (as opposed to powerless and fearful).
Originally Posted by Catherine58
So, my question to you could I have had the HPV way back from my first pap April 2006 and since I was not tested could I have had it in the first place and not even know it? I heard it stays dormant and I wonder if I got it from my first husband who was not a virgin like I was when we got married.
If that is the situation, then he most likely exposed you to the virus. I suspect my first husband (who was less than faithful) exposed me, but I don't know for certain. It isn't worth trying to play the blame-game either. I have it and it is time to just take care of things from here on out.
The connection between HPV and cervical cancer was discovered in 1974 (or was it 1972?). I believe the test for HPV/dna only came out about 4 years ago. So it is likely that many of the women who are now being diagnosed with HPV have had it for a while, but since the test wasn't available (or even discovered!) no one knew.
Pickle eye you are the BEST!!! I have learned so much from you and I am taking that knowledge and talking to my friends so they can be informative about HPV and how it is spread.
Thank you so much, Catherine! That makes me feel good. I hope you are also going out and reading things at CDC and other reliable sources. I've learned a lot, but what I post is what I understand (and remember) from my research. I'm hoping I am repeating things accurately, but there is a chance I might have some things wrong.
I hope I'm making sense. I'm starting back to school this week and my head is in overload and my body is still trying to heal from surgery. I'm worn out, but want to help however I can.
I got my results back and it says on my pathologic diagnosis:
A. cervix at seven o'clock, biopsy: Ectocervical squamous mucosa showing a focal area consistent with mild koilocytotic atypia. B. Endocervix, curettage: No pathologic abnormalities. My HPV test came back detected AB. (abnormal)
So, I guess I am HPV postive. I am extremly shocked and mad all at the same time. I guess it could of been a lot worse. Am I happy I am a mild case of LSIL? Yes, but I feel like crying because I was so careful when it came to sex. The doctor can not pin point it if I caught it from my x husband or my new husband. Since I got my test for HPV on my 3rd pap and it came back negavtive I thought I was ok in 2006 and did not have HPV. I did not know it stays dormant once you catch it. To say the least I am mad but like you said Pickle eye I am not going to play the blame game and I need to take care of myself now. I do know that I am going for a second opinion cause I do not know if I want to wait 9 months getting pap's every 3 months to check if anything has changed that is what my OB/GYN wants me to do. I am over the years of childbearing and a hysterectomy would be my choice to get it all out so I don't have to be in this stage of waiting and worrying all the time. I do have a question though. Can you still get the HPV shot if you are already active? My niece wanted me to ask. Thanks for all your help!!
You can definitely get the HPV shot after you're sexually active as long as you're 26 or younger. The reason it's encouraged BEFORE you become sexually active is that if you've already been exposed to any of the four strains the vaccine protects against, then it's too late for that strain.
I got the vaccine after I'd found out I had HPV so I could protect myself against the other strains; also, there's some anecdotal evidence that the vaccine can help your body clear dysplasia or warts.
Last edited by newpatient485; 08-22-2008 at 04:02 PM.
Hi Pickle Eye,
I went in for my 2nd opinion and I am so happy I did. The new doctor is going to do a Cryotheraphy on me Sept. 4, 2008. The primary reason for this surgery is to treat mild moderate cervical dysplasia which is abnormal cell growth. (Stage 2) My pap came back LSIL with positive to HPV. The surgery will be thermal destruction of abnormal cells by freezing usually with liquid nitrogen. I am sure you know this but I am explaining to others who is reading. My new doctor told me why wait to see if this progresses lets just treat the problem and it would elimante my worrying and the time I would have to wait to go through 3 paps ( 9 months) to see if I get a negative reading. After my surgery I go back to have another pap test done in 3 months to see where I am. She aldo told me since I had abnormal paps before that I was infected by HPV back then and never knew it!! Since I was never tested for HPV in my 2 other pap's I figured I was OK!!! Every doctor should be doing a HPV test with your pap if they are not ASK for the HPV test!! Insist on it!!! It can save a life!!! The doctor also told me that I can not expose my new husband with the HPV I have. That made me feel so good. It is the man the infects the woman and then the woman gets different strains of HPV through the man. It is an everending cycle. I know condoms are not 100% safe against HPV but when I get all straightened out I will be using a condom. It will ease my mind at least I am doing something then just sitting back and crossing my fingers I don't get HPV again!!! These are not happy times for the ones infected with HPV and not being in the so called high risk catagory to catching the virus. Hope you are doing good Pickle Eye.