HPV Screening in Houston, TX
HPV, or human papillomavirus, causes a variety of problems amongst women, ranging from warts to cervical cancer. The best way to protect yourself from the effects of HPV is by having routine gynecological examinations at North Cypress Women’s Center. Our board-certified (gynecological) surgeon, Dr. Farhina Imtiaz, offers HPV screenings, education and treatments for HPV to adolescent girls and women in Houston and surrounding areas of Texas, including Cypress, Sugarland, and Katy.
What is HPV?
HPV, or human papillomavirus, encompasses more than 100 varieties of a virus that affect the mucous membranes and skin. Two conditions that are linked to HPV are certain types of warts and cervical cancer. The warts may appear on any part of your body, such as:
- Feet (plantar warts)
- Mouth, anus, and genitalia
Fortunately, most infections of HPV do not lead to cancer, but you may be at risk, so we recommend routine HPV screenings if you engage in activities that are known to result in the transmission of the virus. The type of HPV that leads to cancer affects the lower part of the female reproductive system where the uterus is connected to the cervix (vagina). HPV is not limited to women, though. Men and women can develop HPV-related cancer of the back of the throat and anus. Women are also at risk for developing vulvar cancer and vaginal cancer. Men who are infected with certain types of HPV may develop cancer of the penis.
HPV Screening Benefits
Undergoing an HPV screening by our gynecologist, Dr. Farhina Imtiaz, gives you peace of mind knowing that you are not a carrier of the virus. She will likely recommend a vaccination against HPV if you are sexually active. If the screening indicates that you have HPV, Dr. Imtiaz will recommend treatment to control the virus and prevent transmission to other.
Gardasil® is a vaccination that protects adolescents and adults from HPV infection. HPV is spread through sexual contact, either anally, orally or vaginally. Clinical guidelines recommend that adolescents receive the vaccination between 11 and 13 years of age, an age that many parents find too early to begin protecting their children against conditions that are transmitted sexually. But Gardasil® is intended to give parents peace of mind. In some cases, patients do not develop the symptoms of HPV infection until years after the virus was transmitted. Adults also benefit from the vaccination after receiving a negative screening result for HPV. Dr. Imtiaz provides education to adolescents and adults on methods to protect themselves from HPV and other sexually transmitted infections.
What Areas are Affected by HPV?
HPV describes a variety of strains, each of which affects different areas of the body. When it persists, it causes disease or cancer. The strain that is transmitted via sexual contact can affect the uterus, penis, anus, throat (for oral sex), vagina, vulva, and uterus.
How is the HPV Screening Performed?
The HPV screening is a multi-step process. If you have visible warts, Dr. Imtiaz will visually inspect the warts to determine if they are caused by HPV. If you do not have genital warts, she will use further testing to accurately diagnose to as HPV positive or HPV negative. Tests she may use include:
- DNA test that uses cells of the cervix to evaluate if HPV DNA is present. The test is typically performed on women over 30 years of age and in conjunction with a Pap test.
- Acetic solution test to locate genital warts. The vinegar solution is applied to the genital area. If the solution comes into contact with an HPV-lesion or wart, the solution turns white.
- Pap test that involves collecting cell samples from the cervix. The cells are sent to a professional lab for processing.
- Biopsy may be done to definitively diagnose any genital lesion.
HPV Screening Preparation
Prior to your HPV consultation with Dr. Imtiaz, you should prepare the following information:
- Sexual history
- Any noted symptoms, including when you first noticed the symptoms
- Methods of birth control and/or methods used to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections
- History of any sexually transmitted infections or other conditions that affect your genital area
HPV Screening Recovery
The results of your HPV screening will inform you about whether or not you are a carrier of HPV.
- Positive HPV test indicates that you are a carrier of the HPV virus. Dr. Imtiaz will recommend treatments if needed. She will also advise you about steps to take to protect yourself and others from transmitting HPV and other sexually transmitted infections.
- Negative HPV test indicates that you are not a carrier of the HPV virus. Dr. Imtiaz may recommend the Gardasil® vaccination. She will also discuss preventive measures for protecting yourself from HPV and other sexually transmitted infections.
How Much Does the HPV Screening Cost in Houston?
Most medical insurances cover the cost of HPV screenings and treatment. The Gardasil® vaccination is being accepted by most insurance carriers as the benefits of the vaccination are well documented by the medical community. You can pay for your portion of the cost for the diagnostic, treatment and prevention services for HPV via cash, major credit cards and CareCredit® financing.
Is the HPV Screening or Gardasil® Vaccine Right for Me?
Clinical guidelines recommend that adolescents be screened and vaccinated for HPV around 11 to 13 years of age. This vaccine is recommended for women up till age 26. Many people consider this to be too early for protection against a sexually transmitted infection, but today’s adolescents are becoming sexually active very early in life. HPV screenings and the Gardasil® vaccination is recommended for all adults regardless of sexual activity since the virus can lay dormant for years after transmission.
HPV is a preventable sexually transmitted infection, and the HPV screening is covered by most medical insurance policies. If you have a child between 11 to 13 years old or if you have been sexually active, contact North Cypress Women’s Center to schedule an HPV consultation with Dr. Imtiaz.
HPV screenings and vaccinations are recommended for adolescent boys and girls, as well as adult men and women. Board-certified (gynecological) surgeon, Dr. Farhina Imtiaz offers HPV screenings, treatments and vaccinations at North Cypress Women’s Center, serving the communities of Houston and surrounding areas of Texas, including Cypress, Sugarland, and Katy.