I am 44 years old, have been married for 25 years, monogomously. I recently had an abnormal pap. The Dr said I am positive for HPV. I don't know what strain, nor do I know how I got it. At this point, I don't care how I got it, I just need to manage it so I can live my life. I had a colposcopy in which the Dr said "very little" was going on. He took a biopsy, then called me a few days later to tell me that the biopsy was "benign." That was my gynecologoist. I had also been having some digestive issues, having unusal pressure on my rectum. I went to my GP, thinking hemorrhoids, she did an exam and said she didn't feel or see anything unusual. However, then she put me on a steroid suppository for 10 days, 'in case there's inflammation.' Since then, I have had a terrible burning sensation all through my vaginal and anal areas. It keeps me up at night. Since the HPV diagnosis, I have been diligently taking vitamins, exercising and working to build my immune system. Then I learned that steroids suppress the immune system. How could she have given this to me knowing I am fighing this virus? Has anyone else had a terrible burning sensation. I don't know what to do. I don't know if my immune system is compromised. I appreciate any answers you may have.
I was diagnosed with high risk HPV after 16 years of monogamous marriage and never had any symptoms; not even bad paps - ever! And I had my paps every year since I was 19.
I think the burning might be from the medicine or some other issue. I don't think it is related to the high risk HPV.
One thing you need to know is that you were probably diagnosed with the high risk HPV because your doctor tested you for it, not because it is a new/recent infection. That's what happened to me.
I hope that helps.
Thanks you so much for your response. The burning was actual a yeast infection, probably due to the antibiotics that I had been on.
I obtained a copy of my biopsy. It states that there is "chronic inflammation, negative for HPV effects, negative for dysplasia or malignancy." However, the ECC has an insufficient sample to test. Should I ask for that to be re-done? I am scheduled for my follow-up pap on September 1.
I asked my doctor what strain I have and she said it doesn't matter. I assume it's high risk, but given my biopsy results, I just don't know. She didn't say. She seem like this is no big deal at all, stating that it is unknown how many people are truly infected with a strain of HPV at some point in their life as the immune system for the majority takes care of it. Basically, she's not the least bit worried. I, on the other hand, am very concerned. I feel like there's this hammer hanging over my head and at any moment, it's going to come down and I will have cancer.
What are your thoughts? I have read many of your posts. We can gain so much from your experience. Thank you for sharing.
If you are positive for high risk HPV and she didn't find anything on the outer cervix (or in the vagina or on the vulva) then I strongly suggest you ask for that ECC to be repeated. The active virus is somewhere. It doesn't mean it will show up on a scraping, but it is active.
I can't remember what they are called, but there are 2 types of ECC tools. One is like a brush and the other is shaped differently. I know if you post on the Cancer: cervical and ovarian board someone can tell you what they are. I wish I could remember.
The "chronic inflammation" is another reason to press for an ECC. Something is causing the chronic inflammation. It isn't normal and your doctor should look further, especially with you being positive for high risk HPV.
And yes, if you got a test back that says you are positive for HPV, it is most likely high risk HPV. Low risk HPV shows itself as genital warts and it isn't usually "tested" but identified by visual inspection.
Right now, I agree with your doctor that it doesn't really matter which strain(s) of HPV you have. The negative effects of the HPV are treated the same way. The only reason I'd push for knowing which strain(s) is when researchers are better able to identify which strains cause which problems (specifically). For example, doctors know that certain strains of high risk HPV show up in certain neck/throat/mouth cancers. Again, I don't remember the numbers.
I don't think doctors/researchers have been able to pinpoint more than a few strains and what they cause. All of the others are just generally (for lack of a better word) related to various cancers. When they know what causes what, I'm going to find out what strain(s) I have/had. Until then, it doesn't do much good to know the numbers. Besides that, it is costly to run the test that identifies specific strains AND insurance doesn't usually cover the test.
Your doctor is also correct that having an HPV infection isn't reasons for great concern. The latest research that I read (but it was 5+ years old) said that over 80% of women who had be sexually active at any point in her life had been exposed to at least one strain of HPV by the time she was 50! I suspect the numbers are higher and I also suspect that the numbers are the same for men. So, yes, it is common.
A woman of your age to have chronic inflammation with an active HPV infection should be tested further for what is causing the inflammation and where the infection is.
It sounds like your outer cervix is fine. That tells me that your doctor should be testing your cervical canal. The cells in the canal are different from the cells on the outer cervix (inner = glandular, outer = squamous).
When it comes to worrying about cancer hanging over your head, I'd say that is jumping the gun.
I hope that answered some of your questions. Please remember that all of my advice is based on my readings and understanding of those readings that I did while researching HPV and cervical cancer (especially adenocarcinoma).
If you feel like your doctor isn't taking your concerns seriously and/or your doctor refuses to do another (more thorough) ECC, then I strongly suggest you seek a second opinion. By the way, the ECC, when done correctly is quite uncomfortable. It should be, though. They are scraping a very sensitive area and you want them to get a good sample.
I hope that helps! Let me know if I can answer any other questions!
Yes, Pickle Eyes, your responses have definitely helped me.
My GP did my pap but a gynecologist did the colposcopy and biopsy. Today I decided to called the gynecologist. I asked him about the "insufficient amount of sample" during the ECC. He said that he didn't need to sample as he could see my entire cervical canal and there were no lesions. He said there was nothing to sample. He said the spot that he did see, he biopsied, which only showed inflammation. He said that inflammation is very common and can even be caused from sexual intercourse. He said that just because I am positive for HPV does not mean I will develop cancer and that I should keep up on my paps and not worry. He proceeded to tell me that the majority of women overcome HPV and have no dysplasia or abnormal cells.
I am feeling a little uneasy with his answer.
There is no way he can see all of your cervical canal during a colpo unless he puts a scope into your uterus and looks at the canal on the way. He might be able to see all of the vaginal canal, but not the cervical canal. :shaking head:
Trust your gut. I find that mine often guides me correctly. If it were me, I'd get a second opinion!