Cervical Dysplasia- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Summary: Cervical dysplasia is a clinical term for abnormal microscopic changes in the cervix. The cervix is the mouth of the uterus. Sometimes abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can grow into more intensely abnormal cancer cells. Therefore a quick diagnosis and treatment of dysplasia in the cervix will help to prevent cancer as well.
In the human body, the cervix is the entrance to the uterus. It is the portion of the uterus just above the vagina. Various causes can make the cells of the cervix to become abnormal. They may have microscopic lesions which are revealed only on close examination of cervical cell samples in the laboratory. These lesions are collectively termed cervical dysplasia. Symptoms are practically absent. However, an early diagnosis can help prevent far more debilitating disorders such as cervical cancer.
Causes of cervical dysplasia: It is important to note that this cervical abnormality can occur at any age. However, women between 25 and 35 years of age seem to be more susceptible to the disease. It has been observed that the disease is primarily caused by the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV. HPV is a contagious virus that is transferred through sexual contact. There are many strains of the HPV. Some of these are known to cause cervical cancer. It is therefore necessary to evaluate any cervical changes and check for dysplasia caused by HPV.
Incidence: The risk of cervical dysplasia increases women who have had teenage pregnancies, early sexual activity (before 18 years of age) or unscrupulous sexual activity with multiple partners. Monogamy is best advised to prevent contracting HPV and consequentially developing dysplasia or cancer. Immunosuppressant drugs and smoking have also been possible causes for making women vulnerable to cervical dysplasia.
Diagnosis and Treatment: Regular pelvic examinations and Pap smear tests are recommended. The Pap smear test can reveal the condition of the cervical cells. Once identified, any abnormality or dysplasia is categorized as mild grade, high grade or malignant (cancerous). Mild cervical dysplasia is known to be self-limiting and will disappear on its own. However, high levels of the disease have to be checked repeatedly for progress and arrested with treatment. The treatment may include laser therapy (to burn away the cells) or cryosurgery (to freeze the abnormal cells) or even loop electro-surgical excision procedure (LEEP). The malignant grade cells are removed with anti-cancer procedures and hysterectomy may be required. You can even get an HPV Test since the two things are often related.
It must be noted that cervical dysplasia is not debilitating by itself. Regular screening of women over 30 and vaccination of girls between 11- 25 years of age against HPV can reduce the incidence of dysplasia and cancer to a great extent. The availability of the anti-HPV vaccine has made it easier to battle out cervical cancer.