[Question #7164] Colonoscopy and hpv

8 months ago
Dear experts,

I recently had a colonoscopy done due to some bleeding I had experienced. The doctor found nothing wrong.
I am worried that if there is HPV in the anal canal could this be spread further into the colon by the scope used in the colonoscopy procedure?
My ex's new wife (whom he was involved with while we were together) has just been diagnosed with severe cervical cancer. Therefore I am worried I may have hpv and  in the country I live in it is not possible to be hpv tested unless one's pap-smear is abnormal. I have tried to find information online on this matter, but to no avail. I am hoping you can shed some light on this, as I am quite anxious about it.  Thank you. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
8 months ago

Welcome to our Forum.  Thanks for your confidence in our service.  I'll do my best to address your questions but I have a little trouble following.  If my answers don't clarify things, please use your up to 2 follow-up questions for clarification:

I am not sure why you ex's new wife's cervical cancer is relevant.  The great majority of unvaccinated sexually active persons have HPV, whether they know it it or not.  It would be unusual for you not to have or have had HPV and as long as your tests are normal, further evaluation is not recommended.  Only a very small proportion of those with HPV however go on to develop pre-cancerous lesions or cancer related to their infections and those can be detected early as long as folks have regular sexual health screening (i.e. PAP smears) and other cancer screening (such as colonoscopy), all of which are good screening tests.  In your case, if no abnormalities have been detected, no further evaluation is needed other than being sure to be re-evaluated at the next recommended screening period.  If your PAP smear is negative and your colonoscopy is normal, further evaluation is not needed at this time. 

There are no data to suggest that procedures such as colonoscopy spread HPV in persons who have rectal HPV. 

I hope this information is helpful.  EWH


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8 months ago
Thank you Dr. Hook for all the information. I am still curious why hpv would not spread during endoscopic procedures. Hope it's ok I ask. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
8 months ago
It's fine to ask.  I cannot provide specific data on WHY but I can tell you that observation of hundreds of thousands of persons undergoing colonoscopy has not led to description of spread of HPV to other sites during the procedure, in much the same way that persons with genital warts do not spread their warts from place to place on the body when they touch a wart and then rub or touch another part of the body.  That's the best observation I have to offer.  EWH
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