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Women's health

HPV positive questions

19 replies

Maxymoo1 · 12/02/2020 15:58

Hi everyone,

So I'm 31 and have just received a letter following my latest smear test to say that I have HPV. There is no mention of what strain but I have no abnormal cells and I will be re tested in one years time.

I've read a lot online this afternoon but I'm still quite confused! I've had regular smear tests every 3 years and they have always been normal, I've been with my husband for 8 years. I understand that HPV can lie dormant for years and if that's the case with me which I assume is the case, does anyone know why it becomes active? I've read that most people get rid of it in 2 years but if it's been dormant for years does that mean you have really got rid of it or just made it dormant again if that makes sense?

I'm confused and trying not to worry too much

OP posts:
Maxymoo1 · 12/02/2020 17:36

Anyone? Confused

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YorkshireLass1 · 12/02/2020 18:58

Hi, I too had the same letter today, brain is all mushed from reading all about it. Unfortunately I have no answers, just didn't want to read and run, and just to say you're not alone Flowers

4amWitchingHour · 12/02/2020 19:18

The tests have changed over the last couple of years - now they test for HPV first, and then check for abnormal cells if you're positive. Before they checked for abnormal cells first and then tested for HPV if there were any, so you could have had HPV for years but it wasn't picked up as you don't have abnormal cells.

I'm in the same position - been with my husband for 6 years, always had normal smears til 2.5 years ago when this test was brought in in my area, I'm HPV positive and still was at my smear a year later, but still with no abnormal cells. I'll have another smear test in June/July-ish, but I'm not worrying, as it's abnormal cells that are the issue, HPV just makes it more likely you'll get abnormal cells.

That was a bit of a ramble - hope it's a bit helpful and reassuring! It's likely that your immune system will clear it, but even if it stays around for longer it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have problems :)

4amWitchingHour · 12/02/2020 19:19

Oh - but afraid I don't know what can activate it if it's been dormant! I'm working on the assumption I've had it for ages tbh

Maxymoo1 · 12/02/2020 19:21

Hi @YorkshireLass1, thank you so much for replying. I'm sorry to hear that you received the same letter today, maybe we can help each other try to understand it. Did yours say HPV but no abnormal cells? So a follow up check in a year?

What I've learnt so far from researching all afternoon is that we can have contracted it any time and it can stay dormant for years. I've also learnt that the UK only started testing for it as part of smear tests in the last couple of years so it doesn't necessarily mean you didn't have it last time you were checked. Apparently 80-90% of women have it at some point in their lives and of them, 90% get rid of it completely within 2 years, of the remaining 10%, around 7% just take a little bit longer so it's only a small percentage of people that actually get cervical cancer. I hope you're feeling ok? X

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funpetals · 12/02/2020 19:21

I've had Hpv come back on my smear with abnormal cells and had lletz? (Sp) the year later after smear was abnormal cells but no hpv or anything else abnormal so back to 3 yearly.
Hope this helps.

Maxymoo1 · 12/02/2020 19:25

Thank you so much @4amWitchingHour, that's really helpful. I've read that the thing to focus on is basically looking after yourself to ensure your immune system is strong enough to fight it off to avoid any abnormal cells. I've read that stress amongst other things can make it become active. Thinking back, I have a 9 month old baby boy who had a month of sleeping through the night but other than that I've been pretty sleep deprived. In the year before I got pregnant with him I had two miscarriages one after the other, one that required hospital treatment. So I guess I could say it has been a rollercoaster couple of years. Sleep, vitamins, exercise are all supposed to help

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BumbleBeeFlower · 12/02/2020 19:57

I'm the same and been with DH for 6 years. Had a smear just under two years ago and came back with abnormal cells but no mention of HPV. I only know I have it as I saw it on my medical notes at the doctors when I went in for morning sickness. Did some googling and actually found it quite comforting that most women get it at some point in their life but that most clear it from their system within 2 years.
I am more concerned about the fact I have had to delay my next smear by nearly a year due to being pregnant but fingers crossed it is all okay. I will be booking one for as soon as I am able to have one to put my mind at ease.

Maxymoo1 · 12/02/2020 20:02

Hi @BumbleBeeFlower, congratulations on expecting! Is it your first baby? That was my next question actually, we were planning to start trying for baby number 2 at the end of this year but as my follow up smear is due January 2021 I'm going to wait until after that before trying. Not using contraception because we figured it really didn't matter if it happens a bit sooner than we planned but I guess I might have to re think that, which is a shame, I really wanted to just see what happens when it happens

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Maxymoo1 · 12/02/2020 20:19

I'm just thinking... what if I wait this year out and the HPV hasn't gone away? I was planning to try at the end of this year so it's not that it will make a huge difference, I guess after what happened before my baby boy I've learnt that getting pregnant isn't always an easy road so maybe we shouldn't delay. I'm confused

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BumbleBeeFlower · 12/02/2020 20:22

@maxymoo1 yep, first baby. I was in the maternity ward just before Christmas for a check up due to pains and the doctor had a good look and root around in there once he had taken the swab to see if I was in early labour (thankfully not!) as I mentioned I was worried about having to delay my smear but he said everything looked and felt okay from what he could see which was reassuring. I think just see how things go with regards to TTC. My smear was due at the end of July and I found out on the 18th of July that I was pregnant so couldnt go through with the smear. Nobody seemed concerned about it though. They said just come back for one once the baby is born.

Maxymoo1 · 12/02/2020 20:39

Oh wow @BumbleBeeFlower that happened to me too! I was 26 weeks and I had contraction like pains, went to get checked out and had a positive test result for early labour, which apparently is only 50% accurate but if you get a positive result you have to have certain medications which I did and was in hospital for three days. Luckily everything was absolutely fine! You must be due in April then? Good luck with everything, I so wanted a baby and couldn't wait but honestly it's even more incredible than you can imagine, the bond is the most special thing, enjoy every minute! I think we would be quickly referred if there was anything to really worry about, this is more precautionary but we have to be told the facts

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YorkshireLass1 · 12/02/2020 20:42

@Maxymoo1 Yes, hpv positive but no abnormal cells, will also be recalled in 1 year. I think I've read enough to put my mind at rest, it's just a bit of a shock opening a letter and seeing it in print, think I would rather have been called in and had it explained to me. Hope you're reading enough to out your mind at rest too x

Namechange8471 · 12/02/2020 20:48

My first smear I got a letter saying I had hpv , I was mortified and my boyfriend dumped me 🙄.

After some researching I found it not a big deal.

I had my my second smear a few months ago ( exactly 3 years after my first) and it’s negative! I no longer have hpv.

So yes your body does get rid of it itself eventually, I’m not sure of the timeframe, as it was my first smear so I could of had it years!

Just relax op, it’s not a big deal and will go eventually!

Seriously79 · 12/02/2020 21:28

I had a HPV positive smear in Jan 2018 and was called back for another smear a year later (told not to wait the standard 3 years) however I was pregnant at this time and obviously couldn't have one.

I booked in as soon as I could after having my daughter, and the results came back fine, nothing to worry about and I'm back to my normal 3 yearly checks.

I know it's worrying, and easier said than done, but try not to panic x

Tisfortired · 13/02/2020 12:54

@Maxymoo1 I too was diagnosed wi the HPV virus recently (about a month ago) although my letter said mine was a high risk strain, along with severe dyskariosis of the cervix.

As you can imagine I've been going through some turmoil these last few weeks! The biopsy taken at the colposcopy has showed no abnormalities so, due to this discrepancy the colposcopist is discussing my case in a pathology meeting at some point this month and will be contact me to discuss management.

I have been hitting the vitamins and fruit and veg hard since I got my letter, it just makes me feel like I'm proactively doing something! At least you have no abnormal cells, although I know the HPV in itself is a worry when you first find out Thanks

Tisfortired · 13/02/2020 12:55

I meant to add - I had a colposcopy in April last year that came back clear with no abnormalities, and between that colposcopy and my most recent one I had a miscarriage, so can't help but wonder if the two are connected.

chillychicken · 13/02/2020 13:02

I too had HPV show at my smear in December. I have to go back this December for another smear.

I'm fine about it, DH is fine about it. We've been together a long time so I'm guessing it's either active again or it's always been active but not tested for before (I've never had abnormal cells).

I hope we all have normal smears this time next year x

LHMBF · 15/02/2020 13:23

My last smear came back HPV positive with abnormal cells at the end of 2018.
I had a colposcopy and biopsy last Feb which came back as low grade changes which they said should return to normal on their own and no further action would be taken, just yearly smears.
Then fell pregnant in and had my baby in December.
Had a letter saying my smear is due and they booked me in but when I turned up the nurse wouldn't do it, she said it has to be at least 12 weeks after the birth before you can have one, so I've got to wait a few more weeks. Been getting symptoms that are worrying me so really am anxious to get the smear done.

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