Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is an extremely common sexually transmitted virus. According to the CDC, “HPV is so common that almost everyone will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives.” However, of those infected, most will remain asymptomatic and experience no sequela of the infection. A very small percentage of those infected may go on to develop cancer or genital warts as a consequence of this infection.
Although men are carriers and transporters of this virus, women carry the burden of the disease. There is no current HPV test for men, and women are more likely to develop cancer from the condition. For women who have tested positive for HPV and have low-grade cervical cell changes, the current recommendations are to watch and wait, hoping that the cells will revert to normal. For high-grade lesions, destructive techniques such as the LEEP procedure are used to obliterate pre-cancerous cells.
Naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer to patients to effect the course of this disease. Although, each patient’s treatment is individualized, below are the highlights my approach to treating people with an HPV infection and/or low-grade cervical dysplasia.
· Herbal suppositories
a. Thuja suppositories (anti-viral, soothing)
b. Healing suppositories (vitamin A, and healing herbs)
c. Green tea suppositories (anti-viral/ anti-oxidant)
· Stress Reduction/Sleep improvement
a. Herbal Medicine: Lavender, Chamomile, Skullcap, Ashwaghanda, Motherwort
b. Amino Acid therapy: 5-HTP, L-theanine, GABA etc,
c. Flower essences (individualize combination)
· Immune system support:
a. Gut health optimization
ii. Constitutional hydrotherapy treatments.
b. Anti-viral substances:
i. Coriolus versicolor, Green tea
· Hormonal support
a. DIM or Indole-3-carbinol
b. Vitamin D as needed based on lab results.
· Dietary recommendations
a. Brassica family foods (Brussel sprouts, broccoli, dark leafy greens)
b. High vitamin foods (esp. A, C and Bs)
c. Low sugar/ refined carbohydrates
· Lifestyle recommendations
a. No tobacco smoking- initiate program for stopping.
b. Limit alcohol consumption.
c. Regular sun exposure.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with HPV, make sure to contact a naturopathic doctor who can help make sure that you are one of the people who clears this virus.
Written by: Dr. Karrina Wallace, ND.
1) Linus Pauling Institute. Indole-3-Carbinol < http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/indole-3-carbinol>
2) CDC. HPV Fact Sheet.< http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/hcp/index.html>
3) Green Tea in Chemoprevention of Cervical Cancer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2918290/
4) Management of Cervical Dysplasia and Human Papilloma Virus http://www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?article=788