Last Monday I received a letter from my Dr.'s office, saying my pap smear was abnormal. I went to get my results this past Friday and I was told I have HPV. I'm absolutely devastated. All I have been doing is crying for the past two days. I feel like my life is over. The doc told me to build up my immune system, get plenty of sleep, etc, and maybe my body can fight this. What are the chances of that? Does anyone know? I don't even know if I have high grade or low grade HPV (although I am assuming it's high grade, because I don't have warts.). I have to get a colopscopy (sp?) next week and I am terrified of this procedure, as well. I don't really know what to expect. I'm scared of what the doctor will find. I know my boyfriend gave it to me, because I have only been with him. He doesn't know he has it (he's been tested for STDs, although I know there's no HPV test for men) and I haven't told him what's been going on, either. I know it's not my fault but I'm scared to tell him. Also, I can't tell anyone in my family. They are incredibly religious and I know they would be extremely upset with me and would judge me. If they only knew how common HPV was, but they're ignorant, and I can't really deal with their judgements...especially now! I feel like I have no one to turn to. I don't know what to do, and I am wondering if my life will ever be the same again.
First, let me tackle the HPV. About 80% of people will get HPV at some point. Most people never know they have it. Having HPV makes you NORMAL. There is no reason to be devastated about it.
Second, you are confusing 2 things: "high risk" and "high grade." If you don't have warts and were given a diagnosis of HPV, you most likely have "high risk" HPV. This means you have the type of HPV that can cause cancer. This does not mean you will get cancer!! Go to your follow ups and cancer is totally prevenatable.
Now, on to "high grade." High grade and low grade describe the changes in the cells on your cervix. Low grade changes go away on their own most of the time. Most doctors won't do anything for low grade lesions other than watch you closely.
High grade lesions are a bit more advanced, but still NOT CANCER. Left untreated, they might become cancer in like 10 years or so. Your doctor will probably want to remove them so they don't become cancer.
Get the colposcopy. Your doctor will look for abnormalities and maybe biopsy any concerning areas. This is to determine whether you have high grade or low grade cell changes, so your doctor will know whether she wants to remove them.
I'm so sorry you can't reach out to your family! Just know, you are going to be fine. I promise.
Lily is right, it is extremely common and the majority of women and men who are sexually active will most likely be exposed to it at one time or another.
I had my first smear test and the results came back showing very mild abnormalities and it said signs of hpv sighted... I totally freaked out thinking I had cancer and std's and got myself totally worked up and upset over it.
I made an appointment to go and see my GP who said that this is extremely common, especially in girls of my age group (I was 25 at the time, just turned 27) and that the abnormal cells often clear up their own, but they will keep an eye on them, by giving me repeat smears every 6 months, and if they DO get any worse then they'll sort it out, but very often they go away on their own, but its always best to keep up the recommended checks to keep an eye on it.
With the HPV he said again that this is extremely common and that it doesnt mean i have an active HPV infection now, just that there are signs that I may have had one in the past, but when I went for my follow up smear the results were totally clear, and it didnt list any sightings of hpv infection.. to be honest I dont really understand everything about it, all I know is that is is very common and nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about as if you look around you the majority of adult women you see will probably have had it too. I think maybe sometimes the body can fight it off and other times it just becomes inactive but I wouldnt want to say too much about that as I dont know enough!
Please try not to worry though, just go for your coloscopy and maybe have a word with them there and tell thenm you're concerns, they'll probably reassure you in no time good luck!
The doc who broke the news to me was not my regular Dr. I am hoping by some miracle that this diagnosis is wrong, but I know it's not. She told me I have a yeast infection, as well, so I know the test must be accurate, because it's true about the yeast infection. I don't know anything about my results...if I have mild abnormalities or not. I'm thinking the abnormalities must be significant if they want to do a colposcopy, although I'm not sure if that's just the procedure when there is an HPV diagnosis. I'm so scared about this colposcopy because I don't know what to expect.
Does anyone know the health effects of HPV on men? It's silly, I know my boyfriend must have given it to me, but I'm terrified of his reaction. I don't know how to even tell him. I know that I have to. I know he has not been unfaithful, but he must have had this virus for awhile. I don't want this to ruin our relationship. I love him very much. I'm more concerned about him than me, which I know is stupid.
(((Hugs IWGB)))) This is a difficult diagnosis. There are so many if/then situations it can be quite confusing.
One thing you can do is ask your doctor for a photocopy of your pathology report. Ask how they diagnosed the HPV.
The pap is only a screening tool. If anything appears abnormal on the pap, the doctor will order a colposcopy. I think of it as a fancy-pap. The doctor sets up just like he/she would for a pap with the speculum. They swab the cervix with a weak acetic wash (think kitchen vinegar only more dilute). The doctor then looks at the cervix with a colposcope (a microscope that can look at the exocervix with several levels of magnification). If there are problems spots, they appear white. The doctor can then do a pinch/punch biopsy of those spots. The spots are sent to pathology. During the colposcopy, the doctor can also do an ECC (endocervical curettage). It scrapes the cervical canal (where the doctor can't see during a pap or colpo). The cells in the canal are a different type of cells than on the outer cervix. I think the ECC is generally done on women who are over 30, but they might do it on a woman who is younger than that.
The colposcopy itself feels like a pap. The pinch/punch biopsy might feel like a pinch. Some doctors ask their patient to cough when they do the pinch and it makes it almost imperceptable. The ECC can be quite uncomfortable, but it only lasts about 15 seconds.
I was told to take a couple of ibuprofens before my colposcopy to help with any discomfort I might feel during the visit.
I was afraid that it would be so uncomfortable that I wouldn't be able to go back to work (I teach middle school), but I would have been fine to go back to work. Only a little more stressful than a pap.
I'm thinking the abnormalities must be significant if they want to do a colposcopy, although I'm not sure if that's just the procedure when there is an HPV diagnosis. I'm so scared about this colposcopy because I don't know what to expect.
If you have HPV and an abnormal pap, you should get a colposcopy! Not because the abnormalities are significant, but because it is simply not known whether they are significant!
The colposcopy is like a regular gynecological exam, but it takes longer and you will have weird dischagre for a few days after. Even the biopsies are just not painful. It won't be bad at all. I promise.
Don't worry I felt the same way as you when I got diagnosed with high risk HPV. It is very scary. It is one of those things that you feel can never happen to you. It gets a lot easier once you learn more about it, I promise.
Since it is so common there is no reason you should feel inferior or different.
As long as you go in for your paps everything will be fine. In many women, HPV becomes "dormant" or doesn't affect them ever again or for a long time. Your doctor is right, its very important to keep your immune system strong.
We are all in this together. Good luck with everything keep that chin up.
Thanks for the support, all. It's making me feel a little better after a terrible past few days. All I have been doing is crying. I hope my colposcopy goes well and there's not any cell changes. I still can't help but worry, and I'm trying to work up my courage to tell my boyfriend this wkend. I'm worried how he will react, although I know he gave it to me. Please send positive vibes and prayers my way. I need all the help I can get. It helps a little to know this is very common, and I'm trying to stop feeling guilty, because I know it's not my fault.