Cervical dysplasia is an abnormal benign or pre-malignant (or precancerous) change that occurs in the cells of the cervix. The other name for this condition is cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) is asymptomatic. Left undiagnosed or untreated, sadly, CIN can progress to cervical cancer. Worldwide, cervical cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer death in women.
Many women do not know that they have been in contact with human papilloma virus (HPV) or that they have it. A Pap smear often detects abnormal cervical cells that are caused by HPV (symptoms such as warts are exhibited in only one person in 100 with HPV). Even if HPV is not noted on the Pap smear, there is an 80-90% chance that you have the HPV virus if you have ever been diagnosed with any type of CIN.
How is cervical dysplasia diagnosed?
CIN is usually diagnosed through gynaecological examination and Pap smears. It is confirmed by the finding of abnormal cells on biopsy of the cervical lesion, and is generally regarded as a precancerous lesion.
There are three types:
- mild (CIN I)
- moderate (CIN II), and
- severe (CIN III).
Mild dysplasia is by far the most common.
- Have the Herpes type II virus
- Have contracted the human papilloma virus
- Smoke Use the oral contraceptive pill
- Have had multiple sex partners
- Have a vitamin and mineral deficiency, especially folic acid
- Had intercourse before the age of 18
- Gave birth before the age of 22 Had a poor diet.
Viruses And Cervical Dysplasia
Two classes of viruses are currently suspected of playing a causative role in cervical cancer, Herpes simplex type-II and the human papilloma virus (HPV). The latter has been detected in the cervix of patients with CIN. Although these agents have been shown to be related to CIN, it has not been determined whether they reflect decreased resistance or are themselves the causative agents.
HPV has been implicated as the primary cause of 90% of cervical cancers.
Smoking has appeared to be the most significant environmental risk factor. It has been shown that the more you smoke, the higher your risk. Some studies have indicated that stopping smoking facilitated the regression of cervical cancer. Some ideas for this association include the following.
- Smoking may depress immune functions, allowing sexually transmitted agents to promote abnormal cellular development, leading to the onset of cervical dysplasia.
- Smoking is known to cause a vitamin C deficiency, as vitamin C levels are significantly depressed in smokers. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, essential in protecting cells against damage and for the functioning of the immune system.
- Vaginal or uterine cells may concentrate carcinogenic compounds from inhaled smoke.
The Oral Contraceptive Pill
The use of oral contraceptives and the duration of their use appear to increase the risk and subsequent development of cervical dysplasia and neoplasia. Studies indicate that low levels of folic acid in the blood of women using oral contraceptives have a positive correlation with development of cervical dysplasia and neoplasia.
Researchers have demonstrated that oral contraceptives can cause an imbalance in the nutrient status of folic acid, B6, zinc and vitamin A, thereby leaving the tissues void of the nutrients that would otherwise protect them.
Traditional and integrated medical treatments work best when there is focus on all the co-factors of CIN. Although using a condom may somewhat lower the risk of contracting HPV (associated with almost all CIN), HPV can be transmitted between sexual partners even if a condom is used.