Monthly Archives: May 2024

HPV Vaccine: Get Answers to the Most Frequently Answered Questions

Recently updated on June 13th, 2024 at 07:11 am

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmitted during sexual intercourse. Sexually active people have higher chances of coming into contact with HPV. HPV can be prevented if you take the HPV vaccine at a young age.

It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the USA, and if you are sexually active, in your lifetime you can get affected by HPV. Now you may have questions about the treatment of HPV infection.

In this blog, we have tried to answer all the questions and doubts related to the HPV vaccine guideline and other frequently asked questions to relieve you from the stress of HPV infection.

What is an HPV infection?

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted infection commonly found in men and women who are sexually active. Some types of HPV can cause warts on your genital parts (vulva, vagina, cervix, or anus, and on the penis of men). 

Our body can detect HPV most of the time and clear it out. But if HPV stays for a longer time in the body, it can progress to cervical cancer in women and many other types of cancer in women and men.

There are 40 strains (types) of HPV that can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. It’s so common that 80% of sexually active adults will develop HPV at some point. Healthy immune systems can usually fight off the infection.

What is HPV Vaccine?

The HPV vaccine prevents you from getting an HPV infection, helps you with cervical cancer prevention, and also protects you from cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, or penis. The HPV vaccine can also protect you from cancer of the head, neck, throat, and mouth. Getting vaccinated at a young age can protect both men and women from getting HPV.

Frequently Asked Questions About the HPV Vaccine

How do I know if I have HPV?

There are no visible signs or symptoms of HPV, so it easily gets transferred from one person to another. It’s hard to identify if a person has HPV, but if your body detects the virus and still does not clear it out, it can cause you genital warts and different types of cancer.

When should I get the HPV vaccine?

HPV vaccine guidelines: The HPV vaccine can be taken from the age of 9 up to the age of 26. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) suggests you take the vaccine at the age of 11 or 12. 

Though the ideal age to get the HPV vaccine is before a person gets sexually active, After the age of 26, you need to ask your doctor if the vaccine is suitable for you and if it would make sense.

If you are younger than 15, then you require 2 doses within the gap of 6–12 months. But if you are between the ages of 15 and 26, then you need 3 doses within the 6-month gap.

How can I protect myself from HPV?

One way to protect yourself from HPV is to get the HPV vaccine, which is the best and most effective solution. The vaccine works best if you take it before you get sexually active, but it would still work best if you are already sexually active and can protect you from different types of HPV. 

How well does the HPV vaccine work?

If you take the vaccine before you are exposed to HPV, the HPV vaccine is 99% effective. It easily prevents types of cancer and primarily helps in cervical cancer prevention. The vaccination can prevent the infection; however, it is not a treatment for the condition. It cannot help if you have already been exposed to an HPV infection.

When should I not take the HPV vaccine?

If you have an allergy issue, consult with your doctor first. Also, you must not take the HPV vaccine.

  • If you previously had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any of the HPV vaccine ingredients,. 
  • If you are allergic to yeast.
  • If you are pregnant. 

Risks associated with the HPV vaccine

Just like medicines, even HPV vaccines have some kind of side effect associated with them. Side effects like:

  • Redness and swelling at the site of the injection
  • Pain 
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

How can I protect myself from HPV, apart from the HPV vaccine?

Though HPV vaccines are effective, there are other ways you can protect yourself from HPV, like: 

  • Limit your sexual partners.
  • Use contraceptive methods like a male or female condom; it can give you at least some protection.
  • Once you turn 21, begin regular pap smears (screening for cervical cancer), for cervical cancer prevention.
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Miscarriage vs. Medical Abortion

Miscarriage vs abortion, are almost the same but there’s a slight difference between the two. Both terminate the pregnancy but they have different ways. Miscarriage is unintentional while medical abortion is intentional. 

A woman’s journey of pregnancy is filled with lots of ups and downs, and unexpected events which is a huge concern. People sometimes get confused that miscarriage and medical abortion are the same thing. But there’s a slight difference between the two. Let’s get into the subject of miscarriage vs abortion.

What is Miscarriage?

Miscarriage is also known as spontaneous abortion or early pregnancy loss, if this happens after the 20th week of pregnancy, then it is called stillbirth. Miscarriage is caused unintentionally due to various reasons. Some of them include:

  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Hormonal issues
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Problem with the immune system
  • The issue with women’s reproductive organs

Data shows around 10% to 25% of abortions take place during 7 weeks of pregnancy. Once the fetus’s heartbeat is detected, the chances of miscarriage are reduced. Signs of miscarriage include abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding (passing clots).

What is medical abortion?

Medical abortion is abortion with pills, a safe and effective method to end the pregnancy. Unlike miscarriage medical abortion is done unintentionally when there’s an unintended, unplanned, or unwanted pregnancy. Abortion is a choice women make, which she has every right to. This decision could be influenced by various reasons:

  • Financial strain
  • Health concerns 
  • Personal or family issues
  • Timing
  • Issues with the partner
  • Emotional distress
  • Barriers/stigma
  • unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Threat to mother’s and child’s life

Medical abortion can be done up to 9 weeks of pregnancy, at your home without any interruption. Most women choose medical abortion because it’s an easy and private process. 

Side effects of medical abortion:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding

Complications: Miscarriage vs Medical abortion

Both miscarriage and medical abortion can have some negative effects on a woman’s body.

Miscarriage can cause complications like:

  • Increase in body temperature
  • Shivers and cold sensations
  • Discomfort in the lower abdomen
  • Smelly vaginal discharge
  • Uterine infections

Medical abortion can cause complications like

  • Infections
  • Fever and chills
  • Prolonged Hemorrhage
  • Uterine rupture
  • Cervical deformity
  • Incomplete abortion

Miscarriage vs Abortion

Intent: Intent is the huge difference between miscarriage and medical abortion. While miscarriage is unintentional, medical abortion is done purposefully, a decision taken consciously. 

Medical intervention: Abortions require medical intervention either through medical abortion or surgical abortion. Whereas surgical abortion is a natural occurrence and most of the time does not need a medical intervention.

Timing: Miscarriage is very uncertain, it can occur during any stage of your pregnancy, and chances are less if the heartbeats are detected. At the same time, medical abortion can only be performed up to the 9 weeks of pregnancy. 

Causes: The cause of miscarriage can relate to any biological issues, and it’s not in anyone’s control. Abortion is a personal choice due to various factors that are mentioned above.

Emotional effect: Both miscarriage and medical abortion can take an emotional toll on an individual. Though the emotional response to abortion can involve mixed feelings, after a miscarriage you can feel confusion, grief, and sadness.

Coping with your feelings

You may feel completely different if you had to have an abortion to save your life during a planned pregnancy than if you miscarried before you knew you were pregnant. However, there is no correct or incorrect way to feel. Your emotions are personal and important whether you had a miscarriage or an abortion. You should take as much time as you need to reflect on your emotions and ask for help if necessary.

Having a miscarriage or abortion may provoke many emotions like sadness, grief, confusion, emotional distress, relief, and many more. 

However, you may experience something quite different. The intensity of these feelings, their duration, and when they occur can vary greatly between individuals.

Conclusion

Lastly, understanding these differences allows you to approach the unforeseen events of pregnancy using more knowledge and care. Whether you’re considering abortion or dealing with the emotional aftermath of a miscarriage, having this knowledge can help make your journey proceed more smoothly.

Getting help from people around you can be beneficial, but everyone deals with these situations differently. You may need to talk about your feelings or take some time alone to reflect.  Allow yourself to be vulnerable in a way that is comfortable for you. Don’t feel guilty if your feelings vary from what others expect or if you process them differently.

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