OBGYN FAQ: What Is the Purpose of the HPV Vaccine?

OBGYN Fresno, CA

As a woman, you look to your OBGYN at all stages of your life to maintain your health. If you have children, you worry just as much about their well-being. To protect them from serious diseases and other conditions, you should speak to your doctor about available vaccines. The HPV vaccine is critical to avoiding the infection that causes cervical cancer.

An overview of the HPV vaccine

The human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted infection. It commonly causes a wide range of cervical cancers. An OBGYN is the right doctor to speak to about getting a vaccine that prevents this infection. Girls and young women who get the vaccination before the first sexual contact are much less likely to get this infection and cervical cancer. The vaccine prevents most forms of this disease. The HPV vaccine can also be effective at blocking other types of cancer, including vaginal cancer.

People who should get the vaccine and when to receive it

An OBGYN will recommend that both boys and girls get the vaccine. As far as girls are concerned, it is most effective to get the vaccine by age 11 or 12. Some doctors suggest that girls start as early as age 9 to get the treatment. The vaccine is much more effective when given before the child reaches their teen years. Some parents worry that getting the vaccine during this period of life will lead to early sexual activity. However, doctors say there is no such link.

Getting the vaccine before contact

Parents should understand that the HPV vaccine may not stop the virus or prevent cervical cancer if the teenager receives it after having sex. The vaccine may not be effective at all if the person already has the virus. Girls ages 11 or 12 should have two doses six months apart. An OBGYN urges patients to get two doses before age 15. Older teens and young adults should get three doses of the vaccine if they did not have it earlier in life.

People who should not have the vaccine

An OGBYN will not endorse giving the HPV vaccine to pregnant women. Also, patients who are currently sick should wait until they are well to get the shot. Girls and boys who have had an allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should avoid getting it. People with other allergies should inform the doctor before getting the shot.

Side effects

As with other medications, the HPV vaccine has possible negative effects. Luckily, these side effects are usually minor. Patients may notice soreness or irritation at the injection site. Some people also feel dizzy after getting the vaccine. For other concerns, the patient should speak with their OBGYN.

Visit your OBGYN for more information about the vaccine

If you are concerned about the impact of this vaccine, talk to your doctor today. You can learn more about the HPV vaccine and its purpose and effectiveness. It may also be a good idea to bring your child with you. This vaccine can be an important way to promote good health for your son or daughter.

Get more information about Camilla L. Marquez, MD in Fresno at https://fresnoobgyn.com.

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