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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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 Post subject: panicked please help
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:23 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:16 am
Posts: 13
Location: us
Hi,

I am a 50 year old female who just tested positive for high-risk HPV and have ACUS. This was a shock to me since I had only vaguely heard of HPV and my partner had never heard of it. I was abstinent for many, many years and have only been dating for a year and half. When we started dating we were both tested, supposedly for "everything" which was negative. We are now getting retested for everything just to know. I a totally devastated and panicked. My partner had dated other people before, but we just didn't know about the risk of this. It seems so cruel. I have been in this state of panic since I learned of this in January, and I am afraid. Unfortunately, not knowing the risks, we did have oral and anal sex, so I need to know the risks of this. We are not doing this anymore, obviously. In fact, we are not having sex at all right now. The doctor had told me that there was no need to follow up about the oral or anal concerns because they are "just not seeing it" and it usually goes away. Is there some type of test I should insist on, like an anal pap? I had my routine colonoscopy recently which did show hemorrhoids, which makes me even more concerned. Essentially, I am freaking out about it every day and having nightmares at night. I feel dirty and stupid and like we did something terribly wrong and used bad judgement.

Please help with any information you have. Also, if I could hear from other people who may have "cleared" this, that would be encouraging. How long does it take, and are there factors that improve the chances of clearing it?


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:50 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:15 pm
Posts: 17
Location: usa
First and foremost, you shouldn't feel dirty and stupid. This is a very common infection that (according to some studies) will infect 75-90% of all sexually active people in their lifetime. Try to look at it this way - if you DON'T have an HPV infection when you shuffle off this mortal coil, you're in the MINORITY.

From all I've read, "ping ponging" the virus back and forth to one another is very unlikely so discontinuing sexual activity is probably not necessary - especially if no visible warts are present. With that being said, I would begin using protection when performing oral sex on each other. While most doctors suggest oral hpv is so rare that curbing behavior isn't really necessary, I tend to think otherwise. I suggest airing on the side of caution.

As far as clearing the virus from your system, there is no definite answer since it's impossible to know for sure whether the virus is truly gone. A person could "clear" it in a few months or a few years. Some people may never clear it. Since it sounds like you have high risk HPV (not the kind that cause visual warts) you may be able to consider yourself "clear" after you have several normal paps in a row.

As for factors that improve your chances of possibly ridding yourself the virus - it's basically the same advice you'd give to someone in regards to being healthy: get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, don't smoke, don't eat like crap, get plenty of exercise and consider taking immune system-boosting vitamins.

Good luck to you both!


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:36 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
I totally agree with morty - no reason to stop having sex. If you want, use condoms, If you apply the condom when the clothing comes off, it reduces transmission of hpv by 90% according to a fairly recent study.

odds are , your hpv infection you have now, is one you had long ago that has just now caused obvious cervical cell changes that have shown up on your pap test. There are a few strains of hpv that are faster but most of them take years and years and years to cause issues if they haven't cleared on their own from the body. I assume your gyn has a colposcopy scheduled for you? You can also ask for an anal pap test while you are there. The peace of mind will probably be invaluable from the sounds of it.

Getting cervical cell changes detected early and treated is the best thing you can do. Very few women progress to cervical cancer when they have early detection and treatment. Your provider will have you returning frequently and keeping an eye on things and you'll have more answers after the colposcopy/biopsy too.

Hang in there - it is scary when we find out our pap isn't normal. Sounds like you are in good hands with your provider and your partner both though to get through this :)

betsy

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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:07 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:16 am
Posts: 13
Location: us
Thanks for the replies. What is the chance of high-risk HPV clearing on its own?


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:10 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Thanks for the replies. What is the chance of high-risk HPV clearing on its own?

Usually pretty good, although sometimes HPV hangs around. Betsy's absolutely right in that the risk of cervical cancer is still pretty small if you stay on top of your Paps, which it sounds like you're doing.

Let me make sure I'm clear on your diagnosis: Your Pap result as ASC-US, is that right? If so, very this typically refers to cell changes that are not dangerous and that often clear on their own.

When's your next follow-up?

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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:10 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:16 am
Posts: 13
Location: us
Thanks again for the encouragement. My colposcopy was today. The doctor said there may be one small spot of mild dysplasia but was not sure. The results will be available next week. I still feel like this is a nightmare and feel afraid a lot of the time. I'm still scared about oral or anal cancer risk (sorry if I am being too frank here, but have to ask). Any thoughts on the risks?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice.


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:12 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Oral and anal cancers are very uncommon, and most oral diseases have a cause other than HPV. Cervical cancer is much more of an issue for women, and even that type of cancer is a rare outcome of HPV infection.

Hang in there! Post anytime.

Fredo

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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:16 am
Posts: 13
Location: us
Thank you so much for the encouragement. The information posted here has helped me get through some difficult days with this. Today the results from my colposcopy and biopsy came back as no dysplasia, which the nurse told me means there is no dysplasia in the places they biopsied. My follow up pap is in early July. She said they don't usually retest for hpv at that time since the immune system needs time to fight it. I pray every day that this will clear without further complications and I wish the same for all of you. Will update in July or sooner if I learn more and have information to share. Peace.


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:28 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
We'll look forward to hearing from you. Take care until then.

Fredo

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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:54 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:16 am
Posts: 13
Location: us
Just stopping in to say thanks for the support. I'm having a rough day with this and just needed to connect with someone because I feel alone in this right now and feeling afraid that the hpv won't go away. I had peace for a little while but not right now. Thanks for listening.


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 10
Location: TX
Hi Guest,

I am also in my 50's and struggling with the same issues you are after a recent diagnosis. The anxiety is hard to manage. I know what you're going through. We have to have hope that all will be OK. Right now, I'm more worried about the effect my anxiety is having on me than the HPV! My fiancee is very supportive and is trying to help me keep my anxiety levels down. I haven't felt this type of stress in many years, and it's no fun.

Gail


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:03 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
guest1234 wrote:

Just stopping in to say thanks for the support. I'm having a rough day with this and just needed to connect with someone because I feel alone in this right now and feeling afraid that the hpv won't go away. I had peace for a little while but not right now. Thanks for listening.

Thanks for stopping by. Sorry things have been rough lately, but I'm glad you posted and are staying in touch. Please stop by however often you like.

Best always,
Fredo

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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:05 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:16 am
Posts: 13
Location: us
Thanks Gail and Fredo! I hope you are doing better also, Gail. Yes, this is a big shock, and it is just hard to cope sometimes. I, too, wish I had not dated (I waited a very long time to do so) and had been content on my own, but we humans are meant for relationships, so it is probably not good to second-guess ourselves at this point. I still pray every day that this goes away, and I pray the same for you. Thanks for the encouragement.


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:02 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:16 am
Posts: 13
Location: us
Hi Fredo and others who have been so encouraging on this board - I had my follow-up Pap smear last week, and the report came back today as normal! This is good news, however I am still uneasy about the whole thing in the light of the diagnosis 7 months ago with ASCUS and high-risk hpv. I feel very lucky at this moment but wonder if this has the chance of coming back? The doctor would not test me for hpv again yet - she said she usually waits 1 year from diagnosis because hpv can hang around for a while and it is discouraging to see the test come back positive.

Thanks again for the support. I continue to pray for all of us here who struggle with an sti and the fear/anxiety that comes with it. Best wishes. Will keep in touch.


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 Post subject: Re: panicked please help
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:23 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hi again,

Yeah, worrying about the next round of tests definitely can cause some anxiety. It's pretty common for ASC-US Paps to clear up and return to normal on their own, this is actually what you'd expect to happen. Don't know just how likely for the next Pap to be abnormal, but most women clear HPV naturally in a year or so.

Keep posting!

Fredo

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