Understanding the HPV-Stress Connection: How Cortisol Levels Affect the Likelihood of Testing Positive for HPV (Episode 217)

You are here:

Understanding the HPV-Stress Connection: How Cortisol Levels Affect the Likelihood of Testing Positive for HPV (Episode 217)

A new study (2024) shows that when women test positive for HPV, they are likely to have high cortisol. Dr. Doni explains the HPV-Stress Connection.
Research shows there is a connection between stress and testing positive for HPV. Dr. Doni explains how addressing stress through cortisol management can help reduce HPV risk and support overall health.

There is a relationship between stress and the risk of HPV and cervical cancer, as well as other HPV-related cancers, in both women and men. 

There’s recent research that I think all of you need to know about, and it ultimately relates to so many other health issues and cancer risk as well. I’m going to be specifically talking about the research showing an association between stress and HPV-related cancer risk.

What Your Doctor is Likely Not Telling You

When you find out that you’re testing positive for HPV or have an abnormal Pap smear result, the doctor is likely not going to say anything about how it’s related to stress. 

I speak to thousands of women every year, and I can tell you how common it is for women to share with me that they tested positive for HPV after they went through a significantly stressful time in their life. For some that was getting married (sometimes even happy events are stressful), a move, a job change, home change, a relationship change, or a death in the family.

I see this over and over again, especially because not only am I an expert in HPV, but I’m also an expert in stress. I’m paying attention to the connection between stress and health issues all the time in my practice, and I started seeing over the years that there was a relationship.

Not only that, but I then found that when I guided women who were testing positive for HPV and potentially abnormal cells, through my Stress Recovery Protocol, they were much more likely to get HPV to negative and keep it negative. 

So I started integrating the stress recovery protocol into my HPV protocol because I want everyone to be successful at clearing HPV and preventing cancer.

Research Shows the Connection Between HPV and Stress

I wanted to find out if there were any studies that showed the same things I was seeing with my patients. I often do this when I notice something in my practice that seems to be working. I’ll go and check the research to see if anyone else has been studying and finding the same things.

It turns out, there is research backing this up, especially in the last few years!

Even though I’ve been seeing this pattern for the past 24 years, there are now many recent studies confirming it. I wanted to share these findings with you, and I’ll include the references below in case you want to read the studies yourself.

The Impact of an HPV Diagnosis

Just the diagnosis of HPV is stressful, right? 

Studies are showing that simply receiving a diagnosis of positive HPV, let alone going through the medical procedures associated with it, whether that’s biopsies or LEEP procedures or other surgeries, increases stress. 

A research review also showed that 89% of women diagnosed with HPV and potentially going through procedures, report anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are results of stress. That’s what happens when we’re stressed as humans; we start feeling anxious, and then we can also experience depression. 

89%, I mean, that’s really high! That’s almost everybody who is diagnosed with HPV experiences some degree of anxiety and depression, and that is concerning because it’s not often addressed. Most practitioners who are diagnosing patients with HPV are not addressing the anxiety and depression, and so women are feeling very alone and on their own with these feelings of anxiety and depression related to their diagnosis.

Impact of HPV on Sexual Health

This research study also showed that 87% of women experience a negative impact on their sex life. 

It showed that women experience a decrease in sexual activity, less interest in sex, less sensation with sex (especially after LEEP procedures), and also increased pain with sexual activity. 

This is very concerning because it’s something women are experiencing, but it’s not getting addressed in the standard medical system, which is why I’m so passionate about helping.

There Is Help

If you’re listening and have experienced anxiety, depression, or change in your sex life because of an HPV diagnosis, I want you to know that there’s help. 

There are things we can do to help address anxiety, depression, and sexuality with natural approaches, and there are things we can do to help you clear HPV, so there is help to address these issues. 

Once the virus is gone, then all of your worry about it would be gone. 

And that’s what I help you to do in my Say Goodbye to HPV Program. The whole reason it’s called Say Goodbye to HPV is because I’m helping you to clear the virus, and we have very good success rates. Over 90% of cases clear HPV. 

Say Goodbye to HPV: Heal your cervix and clear HPV with this 12-week guided program from Dr. Doni Wilson.

Ultimately, I believe we are successful because we help women to recover from stress, and because we don’t give up. Our perspective is, “Let’s figure out why your body is susceptible, and let’s keep helping you until we get it to clear and leave you alone and protect you from cancer.”

While you’re working on clearing the HPV virus, there are lots of things we can do to help you recover from stress. We can teach you what steps to take so that you feel in control and have a clear plan. This way, HPV won’t cause you as much anxiety, depression, or problems with your sex life. 

By giving you the proper information and guidance, you can become your own best advocate for your health. You’ll be able to clear HPV, protect yourself from cancer, and stop HPV from harming your mental health and sex life.

If this is sounding like something you need help with, I want to invite you to reach out to me. You could always contact my office by phone, by email. I’ll put a link down below to doctordoni.com, where you can find our contact information. 

Reach out, because we can do a call with you. My team is trained and has been working with me for many years. They know how to review your pap results and see what your needs are and help you to get the right support, and help you to get confident in your ability to protect yourself from HPV and from cancer associated with HPV.

Correlation between HPV, Stress, and Cortisol

Now, I want to share another study, because this one has to do with looking at cortisol levels. 

Those of you who have read my book, “Master Your Stress, Reset Your Health,” and have listened to me talk about stress know that when we’re talking about stress, and if we mention burnout or adrenals, we’re also talking about cortisol. That’s because cortisol is our main stress hormone.

Cortisol is a hormone that we all rely on day in and day out. We all need it; it’s not about having zero. We need the right amount of cortisol at the right time of day. In fact, cortisol should go up in the morning when we wake up, at about 6:00 AM, and then gradually decrease through the day so that it’s lowest at night when we’re ready to go to bed.

This is what creates our circadian rhythm, and cortisol does so much good stuff. It communicates with all our other hormones, communicates with our digestion, our nervous system, our immune system, our microbiome. We want healthy cortisol levels to keep us healthy.

When we’re under a lot of stress and feeling burned out, like we’re always being asked to do more and can never relax, our cortisol levels can go out of balance and then our body gets stuck in a stress response. 

For some people, this makes their cortisol levels too high. Others might have high cortisol sometimes and low cortisol other times. And for some, it leads to cortisol levels that are too low. But in any of these cases, if your cortisol isn’t at a healthy level, studies clearly show it can harm your health in many ways. It can cause problems with your hormones, digestion, mood, sleep, and even make you more likely to get HPV.

A new study (2024) shows that when women test positive for HPV, they are likely to have high cortisol. They measured cortisol in the morning, what we call the cortisol awakening response (CAR), as well as cortisol throughout the day. And they found that both the CAR and cortisol throughout the day were more likely to be elevated.

This means that when women have high cortisol, they’re also at higher risk of HPV. And this makes sense, because when cortisol is higher, our immune system is lower, making it harder for our immune system to protect us.

We Need to Be Measuring and Addressing Cortisol

What this means to me is that we need to be measuring cortisol for women. And this is something that I’ve been doing in my practice for over 20 years. 

We can measure cortisol in the blood, saliva or urine. I recommend measuring it in saliva or urine at four different times of day: when you first wake up, in the middle of the day, the evening, and the bedtime. 

And I find that many women who are testing positive for HPV have a cortisol that’s high at some point in the day or all day. I also see some women who have low cortisol and test positive for HPV. So this is another possible scenario. 

The main point is, when we’re under stress and our cortisol is disrupted, we’re much more likely to test positive for HPV. And what the study showed is that when cortisol is optimal, there is a lower risk of HPV and lower risk of cancer associated with HPV.

That’s exactly my premise. That’s exactly what I’ve been noticing with my patients, and that’s exactly what I teach in my Say Goodbye to HPV Program. And now this research is showing it’s true, documenting exactly what I’ve been observing and teaching. So exciting to me, because now it’s not just me seeing it, it’s researchers documenting it in studies.

This means that all we need to do is help you recover from stress. Now, I know it’s a little tricky, because having HPV in itself is stressful. So we have to essentially outsmart the virus. The virus is making you more susceptible by stressing you out, and once you know that, then you can do something about it.

I encourage anyone listening who’s wondering, “How am I going to outsmart this virus and how recover from stress?” to get the book “Master Your Stress Reset Your Health.” You can get it in a print copy, digital, or audible at Amazon. 

I’m Here to Help

You can always reach out to me. You can meet with me one-on-one if you’d like more help to recover from stresses of various types, including toxic relationships and narcissistic abuse. 

There are also studies showing that when women have experienced sexual abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse (such as in narcissistic or other types of toxic relationships), they’re at increased risk of HPV.

So I feel very strongly that women need access to support to get through this, to recover from the trauma (even the medical trauma of dealing with HPV), to recover from the anxiety, depression, to recover their cortisol levels, and to prevent cancer. 

This is all doable and possible, and I’ve written about it and talked about it many times. So I want you to know you’re not alone, you don’t have to be left alone with these risks. 

I understand that dealing with HPV can be really scary and make you anxious. It’s normal to feel afraid when trying new treatments or trusting new people. That’s why I’m sharing all this information and resources with you. I want you to know that you can get better, and there are people like me who are here to help and guide you through this.

I can guide you to do testing for cortisol levels, as well as adrenaline and neurotransmitter levels. We can test for the other effects of stress. I can guide you through the dietary changes, the right supplements to help you recover, including nutrients, herbs, homeopathic remedies that are a good match for your body. 

It’s important to know that treatment is not a one-size-fits-all, because stress is not one-size-fits-all. It affects us each uniquely, and so we need to understand how stress is affecting your stress response system, how stress is affecting your body physically, emotionally, spiritually, and then we need to create a plan, an individualized plan to address that step by step. And that’s exactly what I do through my Stress Recovery Protocol.

If you’re ready to get HPV to negative I encourage you to sign up for my Say Goodbye to HPV Program. It’s a great way for you to access my protocol, products, doses, stress recovery, and dietary support from online. You’ll also get access to order testing and vaginal suppositories. I’d love to teach you how to heal and protect yourself from HPV. 

You can also go to doctordoni.com or hpv.doctordoni.com. There, you’ll find lots of resources and stories from women I’ve worked with. You can see that this approach really works, and it can work for you too. Or You can set up a one-on-one appointment here.

So please know that this information is here for you, and you can reach out anytime, and I’m happy to help guide you. So, thanks again for joining me for How Humans Heal, and I welcome you to subscribe if you haven’t already so you don’t miss the next episode of How Humans Heal. 

We’re here to help you!

Connect with Dr. Doni:

More Resources from Dr. Doni:

Personalized Solutions:

Disclaimer: This specific article and all other Content, Products, and Services of this Website are NOT intended as, and must not be understood or construed as, medical care or advice, naturopathic medical care or advice, the practice of medicine, or the practice of counseling care, nor can it be understood or construed as providing any form of medical diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.

Share this Post:
Master Your Stress, Reset Your Health by Dr. Doni Wilson



Order Now!
More from Dr. Doni

Related Posts

The 5 Burnout Types

Did you know there are 5 burnout types? They are based on your Stress Type®, which is how your adrenal function has been affected by