Cervical dysplasia is one of the most misunderstood medical conditions by most women. Dysplasia simply means abnormal growth of cells, which leads to formation of lesions. In this case, cervical dysplasia is a medical condition associated with abnormal growth of cells and presence of lesions on the surface of the cervix. Medically referred to as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), cervical dysplasia is not cancerous. Most women who develop cervical dysplasia may actually not realize having had the condition, the body’s immune system having eliminated the condition naturally.
However, there are those whose immune systems are weak and are therefore diagnosed with the condition, which is in most cases cured. There is always the danger of untreated cervical dysplasia developing to form cervical cancer, in this case cervical squamous carcinoma (SCC). This usually occurs if there is acute infection of the cervix by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted disease.
Types of Cervical Dysplasia
Cervical dysplasia condition is classified in three main categories.
- The CIN category 1 is abnormal growth of cells restricted to the basal of the cervical lining. This is usually very mild.
- Category 2, which is considered high grade, is usually associated with changes within the basal two-thirds of cervical lining.
- Category 3 dysplasia refers to abnormal cell growth encompassing greater area of the cervical lining. It is this category that in most cases develop to become cancerous.
Causes of Cervical Dysplasia
Abnormal growth of cells (dysplasia) is a direct result of infection of the cervix by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a very common sexually transmitted disease. The fact that HPV infection is becoming very common amongst young women between 15 and 25 years presents the risk of many young women developing cervical dysplasia, which is bound to increase cervical cancer cases. Although HPV is the main culprit, there are other risk factors associated with the occurrence of cervical dysplasia. These include poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle (smoking), poor personal hygiene, having multiple sex partners (risk of contracting HPV) and giving birth before the 17th birthday.
Symptoms of Cervical Dysplasia
Generally, cervical dysplasia does not present any symptoms. For this reason, screening becomes very important for detection of dysplasia at an early stage when treatment can be undertaken effectively. The fact that the condition develops over years makes it very necessary for women to participate in screening programs on a regular basis. Screening is vital because it is through the same that women can prevent cervical cancer. Common screening methods include pap/pap smear tests, colposcopy, biopsy and HPV testing.
The fact that most women do not even realize that they have cervical dysplasia means that the body’s immune system is capable of not only stopping abnormal growth of cervical cells but eliminating the same all together. This in effect means that a health diet rich in varied vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids goes a long way in treating mild (category 1) cervical dysplasia. However, advanced dysplasia capable of becoming cancerous can be treated through ablation or resection.
Treatment of Cervical Dysplasia
Ablation treatment aims at cutting off further development of dysplasia through such treatment techniques as carbon dioxide laser photoablation or cryocautery. Resection treatment is usually undertaken for the treatment of category 3 dysplasia. Resection involves the removal of affected parts of the cervix or the removal of the cervix as a whole through such treatment techniques as loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), cold knife colonization and hysterectomy.