Stacey Solomon jokes about how she's drawn on her eyebrows
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Let’s rewind to April 2018 when Stacey Solomon reminded viewers that she had been diagnosed with human papilloma virus (HPV) – the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract. What exactly is it? The World Health Organisation stated: “Most sexually active women and men will be infected at some point in their lives and some may be repeatedly infected.” In a segment on the daytime TV show, Stacey confronted a report that stated 62 percent of female patients felt dismissed by a male doctor.
“It reminded me of the time when I was pregnant with Rex [her youngest son],” she began.
“I contracted HPV a few years ago and I asked whether giving birth vaginally would have an effect on my cervix after contracting HPV.
“And I remember my doctor saying to me, ‘There’s absolutely no research into this, there’s hardly any research into women’s health and it’s completely underfunded and so we don’t know.'”
Shocked, Stacey figured “it’s a historic thing that seems to carrying on now”.
So what is known about HPV?
The WHO added that the sexually transmitted disease can be passed onto others through penetrative sex, oral sex, sharing of sex toys and skin-to-skin genital contact.
Most HPV infections are cleared up by the body’s immune system within two years of contracting the virus.
However, certain strains of HPV can linger and progress to cervical cancer.
“It takes 15 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop in women with normal immune systems,” said the WHO.
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Additionally, HPV has been accounted towards a proportion of cancers in the anus, vulva, vagina, penis and oropharynx.
Non-cancer HPVs 6 and 11 – as they’re called – can cause genital warts in both sexes.
In England, the NHS confirmed girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years old (in year eight of school) are offered the HPV vaccine.
The second dose of the vaccine is typically offered six to 24 months after the first dose.
“It’s important to have both doses of the vaccine to be properly protected,” said the NHS.
There are over 100 types of HPV strains, with 40 strains affecting the genital area.
The NHS added: “Most people will get an HPV infection at some point in their lives and their bodies will get rid of it naturally without treatment.”
It’s when a person is infected with a high-risk type of HPV when the body is unable to clear it.
High-risk HPV can cause abnormal tissue growth, which can lead to cancer.
This is why it’s important for all women to take the time to attend cervical screening (a smear test).
This free screening tool – which checks the health of the cervix – is offered to women aged 25 to 64 years of age.
By taking part in the screening, health professionals can identify HPV infections.
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