ZocdocAnswersIs my body winning the battle against HPV?

Question

Is my body winning the battle against HPV?

My doctor told me my pap smear was abnormal. He said I had HPV and I was considered a high risk for cervical cancer. On the bill from the lab I say HPV 16/18 which is what I am guessing they tested for. After being told not to worry(which is exactly what I did) and to come back in six months for another pap smear to see if my immune system could rid my body of the infection itself, I started taking a vitamin to boost my immune system, Echinacea. The first day i started taking it I had a mild fever. A few days later I had muscle aches and numbness in both of my legs. Is this a good sign that my body is fighting the infection or should I stop taking Echinacea?

Answer

It sounds to me like you had an abnormal Pap smear and then tested positive for HPV. This is an extremely common type of infection but it is something that needs to be looked into further, which is why I recommend that you schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN. We have specific guidelines on what to do with different results of a Pap smear and based on whether or not the Pap smear was HIV-positive. The majority of people that are young and get HPV will clear it on their own. This is the reason why we tend to want to recheck in six months rather than perform a procedure that can get rid of it right away. The procedure may have complications, while your body may do this on its own. The clearance of HPV from your body requires a healthy immune system. Anything you do to improve your diet will probably help, but the symptoms that you had when you took the Echinacea are probably not related to the HPV or your body clearing it. Your immune system will be working with no symptoms whatsoever. I can tell this is concerning you. I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN or primary care physician whoever performed a Pap smear. The two of you should discuss the results, why they chose to wait six months for another test, so that you might receive some reassurance about your situation.

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