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will a hysterectomy cure hpv

By: Ana Mixon

December 3, 2023

Will a Hysterectomy Cure HPV?

Receiving an HPV diagnosis can be scary, but there are options for treatment. One treatment option for HPV in people with female reproductive systems is a hysterectomy. 

Will a hysterectomy cure HPV? Not exactly. When you suffer an HPV infection, it is not curable. However, there are treatment options for symptom management. According to the CDC, 600,000 people have hysterectomies in the United States every year. Many of these hysterectomies are for people with HPV. 

If you think you may have HPV, you should take an STD test immediately. With Rapid STD Testing, you can take a rapid STD test that simplifies the testing process. Sexual health screening is important, as is sexual education. Read more to find out about hysterectomy and HPV infections.

Understanding the Persistence of HPV Post-Hysterectomy 

If you contract HPV, it’s essential to understand how the virus functions and HPV persistence against treatment. 

What Is HPV?

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a sexually transmitted infection that spreads through skin-to-skin contact during sex. Any sexually active person can be at risk of sexual transmission of HPV if their partner has HPV. In fact, according to the CDC, most sexually active people do contract HPV. In many cases, HPV is asymptomatic and clears on its own within two years as the infected cells shed from the vagina and cervix.

However, the infection may remain in the body and cause serious complications and disease. In this case, you may experience genital warts and a higher vulnerability to cervical, penile, anal, and vulvar cancer. 

HPV tests typically involve swabbing the penis or vagina. Pap smears may also detect HPV. This also allows doctors to remove cancerous cells to prevent HPV from progressing into cancer through colonoscopies. However, sometimes this isn’t enough, and you may seek a hysterectomy as an alternative treatment. 

What Is a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a procedure in which a surgeon removes the uterus. You may have a partial hysterectomy, which only removes the top part of the uterus, or a total hysterectomy, which removes the entire uterus and cervix. Doctors may also perform a salpingo-oophorectomy, or the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. 

Can HPV Persist Post-Hysterectomy?

Yes, HPV can persist even if you get a hysterectomy. No cure exists that eliminates the virus, but prevention measures like hysterectomies can keep the virus from progressing into cancer. Since people with female reproductive systems who contract HPV are at risk for cervical cancer, removing the cervix decreases that risk. However, infected cells can remain in the vagina. 

There are over 150 strains of HPV, and you can contract a new strain from sexual contact. However, since most HPV infections in women affect the cervix, the probability of this is low. 

After having a hysterectomy, you can still transmit HPV, so continue testing for HPV and other STDs routinely. The CDC recommends testing at least once a year. You can do this easier than ever now with same-day STD testing offered here at Rapid STD Testing. This eliminates the long, anxiety-ridden wait time and gives you the answers you need quickly. 

Risks and Symptoms of HPV After Hysterectomy 

Hysterectomies are a popular course of action to treat HPV in people with female reproductive systems. However, it isn’t without risks.

HPV Symptoms Post-Hysterectomy 

There are several symptoms to look out for after getting a hysterectomy to treat HPV. These may be signs of developing cancer or other complications. Vaginal bleeding during sex or between periods, for example, is a sign of developing vaginal or vulvar cancer. Itching, vulvar pain, burning, and changes in the color or texture of the vulva are indicative of developing vulvar cancer and HPV. 

Even after a hysterectomy, you may be at risk for cervical cancer. While it’s rare, cancer can develop on the small part of cervical tissue left in the body after a hysterectomy. Bleeding and abdominal pain are signs of developing cervical cancer. Smoking may also increase your risk of contracting cervical cancer when you have HPV. 

In addition to cancer, if you’re a post-hysterectomy patient, you may be at risk for vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia, or VAIN. This is an abnormal change in the cells of the vagina. In some cases, it resolves on its own, but in others it can develop into vaginal cancer. 

Anyone with a vagina can develop VAIN, but if you have HPV, are over the age of 50, have HIV, or smoke, you are more at risk. If you have VAIN 1 (low-grade VAIN), you don’t need treatment, and your body will likely resolve the issue on its own. VAIN 2 (66% of the vagina is affected) or VAIN 3 (100% of the vagina is affected) requires medical intervention. This treatment might involve surgery, local ablation, topical treatments, or radiotherapy. 

HPV Screening Practices

Having regular pap tests regardless of medical history with HPV is vital to the sexual health of all people with female reproductive systems. In a pap smear, your doctor uses a tool called a swab to collect cells from your cervix. This allows medical professionals to investigate cells for abnormalities or precancerous cells. 

Generally, doctors recommend you begin getting regular pap tests starting at 21. Having a pap smear every three years until you’re 56 is one of the best ways to monitor your sexual health. If you’re particularly at risk for HPV or cervical cancer, consider testing more regularly. 

If you undergo a hysterectomy to prevent cervical cancer, your doctor will likely recommend that you continue pap smears post-surgery to closely monitor your sexual health. 

In addition to pap smears, you should monitor yourself for symptoms. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, talk to your doctor immediately. You can also use regular pelvic exams and check-ups to stay vigilant.

Routine STD testing won’t test for cancer, but it can detect HPV before it progresses into vaginal, cervical, or vulvar cancer. HPV is detectable after about a year of infection. HPV testing post-hysterectomy ensures you are staying informed about the infection’s progression and any new strains you could have contracted. Use a 10-panel STD test from Rapid STD Testing to test for HPV and other common STDs. 

Prevention and Management of HPV in Hysterectomized Women

Will a hysterectomy cure HPV? No, there is no cure for HPV. However, in addition to hysterectomies, there are various HPV management strategies and cancer-prevention treatments to consider. Some options are especially good for people who have had hysterectomies. 

With a combination of HPV vaccines, safe sex practices, and regular HPV testing, people who have had hysterectomies can stay on top of their sexual health. 

HPV Vaccines 

HPV vaccines are available to children as early as nine years old, though many begin at eleven. If a child receives the vaccine at eleven, they will have a follow-up dose six to twelve months afterward. You can receive your first dose of the HPV vaccine any time up until you're 26 years old. 

You might also wonder, does the HPV vaccine work after infection? While the vaccine can’t cure your existing infection, it can protect you against other strains.

However, if you’re 27 or older, most doctors recommend not receiving it. Speak to your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for you. 

Safe Sex Practices Post-Hysterectomy 

If you have a hysterectomy to treat HPV, it’s important to be open about this with any sexual partners. Just as you’d like them to be transparent about their sexual health history, you should be too. 

HPV is not curable, so even if you take prevention measures for cancer, you should always use protection during sex. Latex condoms, dental dams, and internal condoms will all prevent the spread of HPV and other STDs.

Even though you can reduce cervical cancer risk with a hysterectomy, you can still be at risk for developing oral or anal cancer. If you contract HPV in either of these locations, speak to your healthcare provider and any recent sexual partners as soon as possible. 

Natural HPV Remedies

You can also treat HPV naturally. While these lifestyle changes and antioxidants won’t kill the infection, they will help manage symptoms during outbreaks. Consider using:

  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc
  • Beta carotene
  • Selenium
  • Diindolylmethane
  • Green tea

Don’t Rest Until You Test: Call Rapid STD Testing Now

Will a hysterectomy cure HPV? No, but you can take control of your sexual health with routine STD testing. If you’re sexually active, you should test at least once a year. If you’re experiencing symptoms related to HPV, such as genital warts, test as soon as you can.

Contact Rapid STD Testing to order tests, or visit your local clinic to talk to a healthcare professional. 

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By: Ana Mixon
December 3, 2023

Ana Mixon is an accomplished and knowledgeable medical writer who excels at conveying intricate medical information in a concise and understandable way. With a strong foundation in internal medicine, Ana possesses an in-depth comprehension of cutting-edge research and advancements in the healthcare sector. Her passion lies in making complex medical concepts accessible to a wide range of readers.

With years of experience under her belt, Ana has honed her skills in medical writing to perfection. She consistently produces high-quality content that is both informative and engaging, ensuring that readers can grasp even the most intricate details with ease. Her dedication to the craft is evident in her unwavering commitment to staying abreast of the latest developments in medical writing. Ana actively participates in conferences and workshops, constantly seeking opportunities to enhance her skill set and remain at the forefront of her field.