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Women's Health

LEEP Procedure and HPV

07/15/2010

Question:

I am 48 years old and was diagnosed with HPV about 15 years ago. I was told the virus usually clears on its own, but it hasn`t in my case. My last two colposcopy results (2 years apart) showed low-grade cervical dysplasia. My gynecologist has recommended I have LEEP. Does the body actually rid itself of the virus, or does HPV go dormant? What are the chances of the virus returning after the procedure? Is there anything I can do to prevent it`s return, such as finding ways to boost my immune system?

Answer:

Your gynecologist has recommended a leep to treat a precancerous lesion called dysplasia. It does not treat HPV. HPV generally clears with time, especially in young women. Whether it ever completely goes away is a matter of debate. As long as precancerous lesions of the cervix are gone, you are considered adequately treated. Eat healthy, maintain a normal weight, exercise and don't smoke.

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Response by:

Deborah A Bartholomew, MD Deborah A Bartholomew, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University