Definition

What is cervical dysplasia?

Cervical dysplasia is a condition that healthy cells on the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that leads into the vagina, suffer from some abnormal changes. It is the cervix that dilates during childbirth to allow the fetus to pass through.

Cervical dysplasia is a precancerous condition. In cervical dysplasia, the abnormal cells are not cancerous, but can develop into cancer if it is not caught early and treated. Strongly associated with sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, cervical dysplasia is most common in women under age 30 but can develop at any age.

How common is cervical dysplasia?

According to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, every year in the United States cervical dysplasia affects between 250,000 and 1 million women. It is most often seen in women between the ages of 25 and 35. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of cervical dysplasia?

Typically, cervical dysplasia does not manifest any signs or symptoms. So regular Pap smear screening is important for early diagnosis and treatment.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes cervical dysplasia?

In many women with cervical dysplasia, HPV is found in cervical cells. HPV infection is common in women and men, and most often affects sexually active women under age 20.

In most cases, the immune system eliminates HPV and clears the infection. But in some women, the infection persists and leads to cervical dysplasia. 

HPV is usually passed from person to person during sexual contact such as vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or oral sex. But it also can be transmitted by any skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Once established, the virus is capable of spreading from one part of the body to another, including the cervix.

Among women with a chronic HPV infection, smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop severe cervical dysplasia, because smoking suppresses the immune system.

Chronic HPV infection and cervical dysplasia are also associated with other factors that weaken the immune system, such as treatment with immunosuppressive drugs for certain diseases or after an organ transplant, or infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS

Risk factors

What increases my risk for cervical dysplasia?

There are many risk factors for cervical dysplasia, such as:

  • Having an illness that suppresses the immune system
  • Being on immunosuppressant drugs
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Giving birth before the age of 16
  • Having sex before the age of 18
  • Smoking cigarettes

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

 

How is cervical dysplasia diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor. A Pap test may play a role in diagnosing the condition. Although a Pap test alone can identify mild, moderate, or severe cervical dysplasia, further tests are often required to determine appropriate follow-up and treatment. These include:

Repeat Pap tests

Colposcopy

A magnified exam of the cervix to detect abnormal cells so that biopsies can be taken

Endocervical curettage

A procedure to check for abnormal cells in the cervical canal

Cone biopsy or loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP)

They are performed to rule out invasive cancer; during a cone biopsy, the doctor removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue for lab examination. During LEEP, the doctor cuts out abnormal tissue with a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop.

HPV DNA test

This can identify the HPV strains which are known to cause cervical cancer.

How is cervical dysplasia treated?

Depending on the severity of the condition, the treatment of cervical dysplasia will be determined. Mild dysplasia might not be treated immediately since it can resolve without treatment. Repeat Pap smears may be done every three to six months. For some severe cases, treatment can include:

  • Cryosurgery, which freezes abnormal cells
  • Laser therapy
  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), which uses electricity to remove affected tissue
  • Cone biopsy, when a cone-shaped piece of the cervix is removed from the location of the abnormal tissue

Dysplasia is usually caught early because of regular Pap tests. Treatment typically cures cervical dysplasia, but it can return. If no treatment is given, the dysplasia may get worse, potentially turning into cancer.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage cervical dysplasia?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with cervical dysplasia:

  • Practice safe sex by using a condom.

Condom use seems to decrease the risk of transmission of HPV during sexual activity but does not completely prevent HPV infection

  • Consider the HPV vaccine if you are between the ages of 9 and 26.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes.
  • Wait to have sex until you are at least 18 years old.
  • Avoid multiple sexual partners.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: August 10, 2017 | Last Modified: August 10, 2017

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