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Can HPV go away on its own?

By Anonymous April 13, 2009 - 1:08pm
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I was just diagnosed as being positive for HPV and will have a culposcopy in a few days. I've done some research and have read that once you have HPV that it will never go away. But I asked the nurse at my doctor's office and she said that in some cases, the HPV will just go away and your body will recover on its own. If that's the case, how often does that occur? What are my chances that my HPV will just eventually go away?

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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Anon - I'm sorry you are dealing with this, and I would encourage you to read this entire thread as you will find a lot of helpful information and links to external sites with more information. The bottom line is that HPV is a virus and will remain in your body and you will need to deal with the impact of this for the rest of your life. The external expressions of HPV can clear up, and that is what people mean when they say it "clears up." Again, please review this entire thread and we also have several helpful articles on the site that will assist you managing your health. Pat

November 19, 2010 - 4:25pm

To answer the question regarding, "what are my chances that my HPV will just go away".

There are 100 types of HPV, some infect the genital area and cause warts, some cause mild cervical cell changes that do not turn into cancer, and some cause cervical cell changes that (over time) can become cervical cancer.

You have probably heard that "most cases of HPV just go away on their own" because HPV is the most common STD/STI, and anywhere from 70-80% of sexually active women will have been infected with HPV in their lifetime. And, we know that 80% of women do not have cervical cancer, cervical cell changes and/or genital warts...so yes, your body is able to "clear up" some types of HPV on its own (similar to a cold virus). It really depends what type of HPV you have been infected with, and I'm happy to hear that you are already seeing a doctor for treatment (many women do not know they even have HPV, because there are no symptoms many times). So, congratulations on taking care of your body and health!

Of these 70-80% of women who have been infected with HPV, only a small number will need treatment for the cell changes caused by the HPV. So, your doctor performing the colposcopy is looking for the cell changes, may perform a biopsy on some tissue, to see what the next step for treatment is, if any, is required.

Please know that only very rarely does the presence of HPV lead to cervical cancer, but I just wanted you to know that HPV can lead to this, if left untreated.

You can read more about HPV and its treatment at the American Social Health Association STD website.

We wish you the best; I would love to hear about your colposcopy procedure, if you are interested in helping other women who may be going through the same thing you are. And, let us know if you would like any information on contraceptive options, including condoms or other barrier methods. Be safe and take care!

April 14, 2009 - 12:55pm
EmpowHER Guest

First off, I'd like to correct the record and say that the procedure is a colposcopy and a colposcope is what is used to perform this procedure. A colposcopy can be done to examine not only the cervix, but the vagina and external genitalia as well. If after applying the acetic acid (equivalent of white vinegar) the doctor will look for acetowhitening. Because the abnormal cells contain high amounts of protein and lower amounts of glycogen, they absorb the acetic acid which coagulates the protein turning it white and visible for the doctor. Typically, the only way to determine the extent of the dysplasia is to do a biopsy at that point (so you'll typically have to wait for those results before deciding on treatment).

Also, HPV not only affects the cervix but can also affect the vagina, vulva, labia, peroneal area and anus as well so the Pap test is not the only thing you need to be concerned about.

You did not mention a Pap in relation to your HPV diagnosis so I won't presume. It's also almost impossible to determine at what point you became infected because more often than not symptoms are minor and go unnoticed. While studies have shown that HPV typically is absent 12-18 months after initial diagnosis this does not mean you are cured of the virus. Your docs nurse needs to do a bit more reading! It may become asymptomatic however there is no cure and you may experience symptoms months, years or even decades later so be vigilent.

April 14, 2009 - 11:06am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

you definatley explained it better.i have hpv,i found out when i was pregnant with my 2nd child. ive had colposcopies and biopsies done, and of course i couldnt be treated because i was pregnant. i went for my 6 weeks checkup and the dysplasia and hpv was still present. so i had more colposcopies and biopsies done, and they have came to the decision that i need a hysterectomy.im 21... im not to thrilled about the idea of it, but what needs to be done needs to be done.my doc did say that maybe years later my body can fight off the infection, but i dont know.......oooooh question. after a hysterectomy will the hpv still be there

December 6, 2009 - 8:07pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Talk about negative negative negative...sheesh!

September 18, 2009 - 11:20pm
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