How Can Naturopathic Medicine Play a Role in Your HPV Treatment Plan?

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Did you know that Papillex was founded and uniquely created by naturopathic doctors? Naturopathic medicine offers us an emerging and exciting approach to treating a myriad of conditions, including HPV and HSV. Naturopathic and conventionally trained doctors do share many similarities, but our differences allow us to provide you with a hopeful, complementary approach to healing that you likely have yet to try. 

What is a naturopathic doctor? 

In regulated jurisdictions, naturopathic doctors are trained primary care physicians with a similar scientific background to other healthcare practitioners, but with a different toolbox of modalities to help patients prevent, treat and heal many common conditions we see today, ranging from digestive, autoimmune and hormonal conditions to mental illness, chronic diseases and infections. Our tool box is significant – and not all naturopathic doctors will use the same tools. Some of these tools include: botanical medicine and herbs, nutraceuticals, certain prescription medications (based on licensure), acupuncture and other traditional Chinese medicine therapies, homeopathy, minor surgeries, and more. 

What is the difference between a naturopath and naturopathic doctor? 

This is a very important distinction when deciding whether naturopathic medicine is the right route for you and your treatment. A naturopath and naturopathic doctor are different, depending on where one practices, what their education is, and their licensure. 

A naturopathic doctor is to attend a 3-4 year undergraduate degree with required pre-med courses such as physiology, biology, chemistry (organic and biochemistry), psychology and more. They are then to apply through a lengthy application process including an interview and personal essay. If selected (based on GPA, personal essay and interview), the student will then do a 4 year program at an accredited naturopathic medical school, where they are to learn in a similar format and curriculum as medical doctors. In their final year, a naturopathic medical student will work full-time under the supervision of a licensed naturopathic doctor in a clinical setting. The student will graduate and then go on to write several licensing/board exams depending on their jurisdiction and where they intend to practice. 

A naturopath, on the other hand, will not be required to have any of this education. In fact, in states/provinces without regulations – pretty much anyone can call themselves a “naturopath”. This is why it is so crucial to know whether you are seeing a regulated and licensed ND (naturopathic doctor) or a naturopath. Click here to find out whether naturopathic medicine is licensed where you live. 

How can an ND help you with your HPV treatment plan? 

The naturopathic approach to HPV is comprehensive and includes a number of different approaches to preventing, treating and managing HPV. From a conventional perspective, naturopathic doctors will encourage regular screening, safe sex practices to prevent spread of infection, and other common practices to prevent HPV. Not only can ND’s help you through the physical complexities of the condition, but they are also a wonderful, attentive support system for the mental and emotional challenges that come with the diagnosis. 

Often HPV (depending on the strain) will clear by the basic immune defences of the body but in some cases, cervical dysplasia can worsen if left unattended. We know that without adequate care and treatment, cervical dysplasias can progress and result in an increased risk of cervical cancer. Naturopathic doctors can provide you with preventative education, supplemental support, immune-enhancing practices and counselling while you navigate this infection and its whole-body impact. The greatest part is, naturopathic doctors can be a wonderful part of your medical team, working with your general practitioner to help strategize and find the best approach for your unique case. We believe integrative care is the most powerful and effective way to help a patient on their health journey. 

3 ways Naturopathic doctors might approach your HPV

  1. Prevention

An ND will utilize many methods to prevent HPV in their patients including educating on safe sex practices for their patient and how best to avoid potential transmission during intimacy with an infected partner. They will also likely encourage their patients to reduce their risks of worsening HPV such as smoking and alcohol cessation, and will certainly advise their patients on best steps regarding diet and lifestyle, as well as evidence-based supplementation for HPV.

  1. Diagnosis 

Depending on jurisdictions and regulations in your particular province/state, ND’s are able to provide pap smears, and may refer you for a colposcopy, which uses a device to determine the degree of cervical dysplasia, and is then categorized (CIN 1, 2, or 3). A medical doctor or naturopathic doctor will diagnose for HPV and provide you with options unique to their scope. An integrative approach to managing HPV may be the missing puzzle piece to optimal health that you have been looking for.

  1. Treatment 

Though all ND’s may have a unique approach, some popular and effective treatments that we encourage you to discuss with your naturopathic physician are: 

  • Folate
  • Vitamin C
  • Selenium 
  • Curcumin
  • Omega 3
  • Green tea extract
  • B12
  • Various antioxidants 

Additionally, an ND will likely discuss dietary measures that are anti-inflammatory and focus on blood sugar control, which has been shown to help manage HPV.

Naturopathic doctors have a substantial tool kit when it comes to HPV. Each case is individual to the specific patient, but we recommend looking into the above factors when finding an ND that is right for you.

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