January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and in honor of that, we want to offer information and tips to help support our patients.
Cervical dysplasia is the premalignant condition of a woman’s cervix that current evidence suggests is most often caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV infections are very common, with some statistics being as high as 1 in 2 women being diagnosed with the condition. Some strains will cause genital warts, while other strains of the virus will cause cervical dysplasia. If left untreated, the premalignant condition of cervical dysplasia has the potential to become malignant cervical cancer.
Pap smear and HPV testing are recommended for all women between the ages of 21 and 65 years old, unless a woman has had a total hysterectomy. This simple test is very reliable and effective at screening for precancerous changes of the cervix and should be started at age 21, with repeat testing every 3-5 years depending on the patient’s test results. HPV testing is done along with the PAP test, and can be started at any point in the PAP screenings.
Conventional treatment or management includes additional testing known as colposcopy with sampling of the endocervical tissue to determine the severity and degree of dysplasia present. Different methods are then used to attempt at removing the abnormal cells, known as cryotherapy and the LEEP procedure. These treatments can come with complications, which have the potential to make pregnancy and child birth more challenging.
Naturopathic physicians have effective treatment methods that approach a patient by recognizing that there are multiple facets to address for optimizing health and positive outcomes for cervical dysplasia. Addressing the cause is always key to treating any condition. For example, we know that there is research linking certain nutrient deficiencies like folate, B12 or retinol to cervical cancer and HPV, which makes a comprehensive nutritional intake an integral part of the treatment. Smoking cessation and safe sex practices are also important aspects to consider.
We offer a comprehensive well women’s exam/PAP testing and effective customized treatment plans to help address HPV or abnormal PAP results. If you should have an abnormal PAP test result or are diagnosed with HPV, there are options that exist aside from cryotherapy and the LEEP procedure. In our office we preform, local treatments to the cervix using natural substances such as bromelain, zinc and sanguinaria, tea tree oil, Vitamin A, green tea and thuja oil. These treatments are known as escharotic treatments and vaginal suppository treatments. Escharotic treatments have been shown in research to effectively reverse cervical dysplasia and don’t come with the complications that conventional treatments do. Each patient case is different; therefore, treatment options are individualized. In honor of Cervical Health Awareness Month, make sure you get your PAP screening if you are due for one. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
1. Hudson TS. Consecutive case study research of carcinoma in situ of cervix employing local escharotic treatment combined with nutritional therapy. J Naturopathic Med 1991;2:6-10.
2. Hudson TS. Escharotic treatment for cervical dysplasia and carcinoma. J Naturopathic Med 1993;4:23.
Witten by Dr. Andrea Minesaki. Dr. Minesaki is offering acute visits and wellness care for our pediatric patients. Please call the office at 480-970-0077 to schedule a visit.