Cervical dysplasia is an abnormal growth of the cells on the cervix, often caused by the human papillomavirus. If left untreated, it is a precancerous condition that can develop into cervical cancer. Regular screenings and early detections are important for effective management. It’s important to note that cervical dysplasia is a treatable condition, and early detection and intervention can prevent the development of cervical cancer. Regular screenings and vaccination against HPV are essential preventive measures.
Causes of Cervical Dysplasia
Cervical dysplasia, also known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), is a condition characterised by abnormal changes in the cells on the surface of the cervix. Here are some of the main causes of cervical dysplasia.
- Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV). HPV is the most common cause of cervical dysplasia. There are various types of HPV, and certain high-risk strains, such as HPV 16 and 18, have been linked to a higher risk of developing cervical dysplasia.
- Multiple Sexual Partners. Engaging in sexual activity, especially at an early age or with multiple partners, increases the risk of HPV infection and, consequently, the risk of developing cervical dysplasia.
- Weakened Immune System. A weakened immune system can make it more difficult for the body to clear the HPV infection, increasing the likelihood of cervical dysplasia development.
- Smoking. Smoking has been identified as a risk factor for cervical dysplasia. The chemicals present in tobacco can damage the cells of the cervix and affect the immune system’s ability to clear HPV infections.
- Overuse of Oral Contraceptive Pills. Some studies suggest that long-term use of oral contraceptives may increase the risk of developing cervical dysplasia.
- Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Having other STIs, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, can increase the risk of cervical dysplasia as these infections can increase the risk of cervical dysplasia.
Symptoms of Cervical Dysplasia
Cervical dysplasia does not cause noticeable symptoms or physical discomfort. In most cases, it is detected through routine cervical screenings. However, in some cases, patients may experience these symptoms:
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding. Unusual vaginal bleeding can occur as a symptom of cervical dysplasia. This may include bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse, or after menopause.
- Abnormal Vaginal Discharge. Patients may experience an increase in the amount of discharge or a change in its colour, consistency, or odour.
- Pelvic Pain. In some cases, patients with severe cervical dysplasia may experience pelvic pain. However, this is a very rare symptom.
Treatment For Cervical Dysplasia
The treatment of cervical dysplasia aims to remove or destroy the abnormal cells on the cervix to prevent the development of cervical cancer. Below are some of the most common ways of treatment:
- Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. It is a common surgical procedure to remove abnormal cervical tissue—a thin wire loop heated by electrical current that excises abnormal cells.
- Cryotherapy. It involves freezing the abnormal cervical cells using extremely cold temperatures. Liquid nitrogen or a specialised probe is used to freeze and destroy abnormal tissues.
- Laser Therapy. Laser therapy uses a focused beam of light to destroy the abnormal cervical cells. It is typically used for treating larger areas of dysplasia.
- Cone Biopsy. A cone biopsy removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix containing the abnormal cells. It is performed under general anaesthesia.
- Hysterectomy. A hysterectomy may be performed in rare cases of severe dysplasia or when other treatments have failed or are unsuitable. It involves surgical removal of the uterus and sometimes the cervix.
- Observation.The doctor may choose to monitor the condition in cases of mild cervical dysplasia, especially in younger women. Frequent follow-up Pap smears and HPV tests are conducted.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gynecology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of cervical dysplasia is crucial for early detection and effective management. This condition typically arises from HPV and can progress to cervical cancer if left untreated.
FAQ’s about Cervical Dysplasia
Q. What is cervical dysplasia?
A. It refers to abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. It is typically detected during a routine Pap smear or cervical screening test.
Q. What are the common causes of cervical dysplasia?
A. Genetic factors, lifestyle choices, environmental factors, infections, injuries, or a combination of factors could cause cervical dysplasia.
Q. What are the symptoms of cervical dysplasia?
A. In most cases, cervical dysplasia does not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, some women may experience bleeding between periods, after sexual intercourse, or after menopause.
Q. How is cervical dysplasia diagnosed?
A. It is diagnosed through regular cervical screening tests, such as the Pap smear or HPV test. These tests involve collecting a sample of cells from the cervix for examination.
Q. Can cervical dysplasia lead to cervical cancer?
A. If left untreated, severe dysplasia can progress to invasive cervical cancer. However, most cervical dysplasia cases can be effectively managed with regular monitoring and appropriate treatment.