Natural Remedies For HPV
I know it can be scary and overwhelming to receive this information, and you might be searching for answers to what you can do about it. Whether your results show HPV with normal cells (or HPV with some abnormal cells), from my experience it is likely you can start treating HPV beforeit might lead to cancer, and without medical procedures that could damage your cervix.
That being said, if your results show carcinoma in-situ or cervical cancer, it is important that you work with your doctor to remove these cells right away. And at the same time, you can take steps to prevent the virus from causing issues again in the future.
So no matter what, the fact that HPV shows positive tells us that your body is susceptible to the virusright now, and it is important that you take action to support your body to heal, right away.
Natural approaches can make a difference and are worth it.
How Is HPV Dangerous?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is transmitted from person to person through sexual contact. However, HPV is can also be dormant in the body for years without ever causing issues.
While many live their entire lives without ever knowing that HPV resides within them, should the virus become active, it has the potential to cause abnormal cells. For women, abnormal cells on the cervix are called “dysplasia” and if left untreated, these cells have the potential to turn into cervical cancer.
Finding HPV and Abnormal Cells
Pap smears help to identify abnormal cells on the cervix or vaginal walls as early as possible before it has time to progress. Starting at age 21, pap smears are recommended every 2 years for women. At age 30 (or more), your practitioner (naturopathic doctors and midwives offer this service in many states) should also test for HPV, and specifically the riskiest strains of the virus (16 and 18).
For women who have had three consecutive normal pap smears with no HPV, pap smears are still recommended every 3 years until age 65 or 70. Even women who received the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) need to get pap smears according to these same recommendations (the vaccine is not protection enough).
What happens if the results are abnormal?
Should a pap smear come back with abnormal findings, it will be on a continuum from mild to moderate or severe (ASCUS, CIN1, CIN2, CIN3 or CIS). Depending on your history of HPV and the severity of abnormal cells, your practitioner will recommend a biopsy. Referred to as “colposcopy”, this in-office procedure will help to evaluate the abnormal cells more specifically.
If the cells are considered to be more abnormal (closer to cancer cells), conventional medicine would suggest either a LEEP procedure to laser the cells away or a “cone biopsy” to remove more tissue.
Of course, we all want to address any abnormal cells as soon as possible.
And yet, many practitioners don’t explain the potential downsides to this approach: Both procedures can cause potential damage to the cervix, which could cause issues for women trying to conceive in the future. Plus, removing the cells doesn’t address the actual virus, so often the abnormal cells will reoccur.
They also don’t explain that other options exist; nor that the abnormal cells often resolve ON THEIR OWN without any treatment.
Women often walk away from the doctor’s office after an HPV diagnosis feeling:
- Afraid for their health or to ask more questions
- Worried over the effect a virus could have on their relationships
- Unsure of what to do and out of control of their own bodies
- Unsupported and isolated
- And worst of all, uninformed.
Listen when I say that it is possible to fight off HPV, especially when we take a strategic approach to address the reason you became susceptible to the virus in the first place.
How Stress Affects HPV
As I’ve mentioned, HPV can be dormant in the body without presenting signs or testing positive for years. It’s no coincidence that most times women test positive for HPV, they also admit that they’ve been under higher than usual levels of stress.
Whether it’s money, a relationship, school, a big move, lack of sleep or the demand at work, stress makes us susceptible to viruses all the time – and HPV is no different. In fact, women in their 50s and 60s can test positive for HPV for the first time ever and it’s typically during stressful events in their lives.
This is because stress decreases our immune function, making it harder for our immune system to protect us from viruses. Stress also disrupts cortisol, causes leaky gut, and throws off methylation, all of which makes you more susceptible to HPV and abnormal cells.
The Top 5 Supplements* and Herbs For Treating HPV and Dysplasia Are:
- Folate (1 to 10 mg per day): Not to be confused with folic acid. Your body needs the right type of folate in dosages specifically prescribed for your body to get the full benefits of folate. Methylation is your body’s ability to use B vitamins, influenced by your genetics and stress exposure.
- Vitamin A It’s incredibly common for women who have HPV and/ or dysplasia to be deficient in Vitamin A, which is known for its antiviral properties. Vitamin A also helps to improve healthy cell function, important when trying to fend off or replace abnormal cells in the body. While many people attempt to get their Vitamin A from beta-carotene supplements, similar to the previous example, some people are genetically predisposed to not be able to convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A. It’s worth noting, however, that Vitamin A should not be taken in excess of 10k iu if trying to conceive or more than 100k iu without consulting your practitioner first.
- Green Tea Extract (200 mg per day): Green tea drinkers, rejoice! This extract is known for shifting the genes responsible for cancer growth, helping to prevent cervical cancer. While you could drink an excessive amount of organic green tea daily, one capsule is equivalent to four cups and gets the job done just fine.
- DIM (200 mg per day): Also known as diindolylmethane, DIM is actually derived from broccoli. It works to ensure the healthiest detoxification of estrogen by the liver, helping to prevent abnormal cells on the cervix and breast tissue. It has also been shown to reverse dysplasia on its own. That said, you would need to eat a dump truck worth of broccoli to get the benefits one capsule can provide, so enjoy your side of greens at dinner but let the capsule do the work.
- Mushroom Extract: Specifically AHCC and Coriolus are known for their antiviral, immune boosting properties that help to fight off all viruses, HPV included. Adding them to the HPV protocol can also help to protect your body from the negative effects of HPV. These products can be found individually or in combination. I encourage you to choose the highest quality products and to work with a practitioner who can guide you on the dosing that is best for your situation.