When Jamie Otis was pregnant with her second child in 2019, she tested positive for human papillomavirus, or HPV.
“I have two friends who told me they were diagnosed with HPV during pregnancy too,” Otis, 34, wrote on Instagram Wednesday. “One said it went away completely after giving birth. The other may need a hysterectomy…”
The “Married at First Sight” star was hopeful her HPV, a sexually-transmitted infection, would go away on its own. But at her 6-week postpartum checkup in June, she was given a follow-up Pap smear.
“It came back abnormal with ‘high risk’ cells,” Otis revealed.
On Tuesday, Otis had a colposcopy to examine her cervix, vagina and vulva for signs of disease. Afterward, Otis’ doctor told her she will likely need a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove the abnormal cells.
“I am so fortunate to have caught this early. These ‘abnormal’ cells are what turn into full blown cancer,” Otis explained. “Luckily for me, I got pregnant and they made me have a pap. Otherwise who knows when I would’ve had one. I didn’t always get my routine check ups bc I was so ‘busy.’”
Otis, who shares 2-year-old daughter, Henley, and 3-month-old son, Hendrix, with her husband, Doug Hehner, urged her fans to prioritize their health.
“To think if I hadn’t gotten pregnant these high risk cells wold just be hanging out spreading inside of me and I wouldn’t know any better bc there are no signs or symptoms,” she wrote. “Sooo, yeah, if you are due for your check up go get your pap!”
Nearly 80 million people have HPV according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the HPV vaccine, known by the brand name Gardasil, is so effective that some countries are reporting dramatic declines in HPV rates.
Gardasil was approved in 2006 for people ages 9 to 26. But now people can receive it until they are 45 years old.