All You Need to Know About the HPV Vaccine
Dr. Ankita Gharge (she/her)

Dr. Ankita Gharge (she/her)

Apr 06HPV

All You Need to Know About the HPV Vaccine

How can you contract an HPV infection?

You can get Human papillomavirus (HPV) by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex. While most HPV infections are asymptomatic, some symptoms of an HPV infection can start to show after a while - making it difficult to diagnose.

What does an HPV infection look like?

While the infection generally does not show itself physically, sometimes HPV symptoms may show up as warts on the genital region or as an abnormal cervical smear. Genital warts are outgrowths or bumps on the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, scrotum, urethra, anus, or thigh. They might be raised or flat warts, single or numerous, little or huge. Some HPV warts can also cluster together, framing a cauliflower-like shape. If you do have genital warts, your primary care physician can go over treatment options with you, depending on your condition.

In most cases, your immune system will clear the infection, and warts will disappear. For early diagnosis, women must get customary PAP screening from time to time since PAP smears give early indications of changes in cells of the cervix, allowing for proactive treatment before symptoms such as pain and bleeding show up.

Progression from an initial HPV infection to HPV disease is commonly caused due to delayed diagnosis and the prevalence of cancerous cells. Normal Pap tests and HPV tests can help monitor you for precancerous changes to the cells of the cervix. Most HPVs are normally cleared by the body's immune system within 1 - 2 years, however, there is no treatment to eliminate HPV itself, but it can be prevented by a vaccine.

hpv symptoms in women

The HPV Vaccine

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The HPV vaccine protects against multiple strains of HPVs. If after being vaccinated, you get infected with HPV, you are unlikely to be infected and, hence, would not be a spreader. However, if you get exposed to an HPV type not included in your vaccine dose, you may get infected and be at risk of spreading the infection to others. FOGSI (The Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India) recommends getting vaccinated between the age of 9-45 years if not already immunised. The vaccine has high effectiveness and minimal to no side effects.

Conclusion

As common as HPV infections are, all you need to protect yourself is an HPV vaccine. Even if one gets the vaccine, routine cervical cancer screenings are highly recommended. Also, if you’re sexually active, using a condom before sex can reduce the chances of getting an HPV infection. Click here to know more about our HPV vaccination services.

Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

Proactive For Her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer out-patient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.