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What You Need To Know About Cervical Dysplasia

Jul 2nd, 2014

Cervical dysplasia is caused by infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can infect the skin and glands of the lower genital tract, including the vulva, vagina, cervix, and cervical canal. There are different types of strains of the virus; some that are more likely to cause genital warts and some confer a higher risk of dysplasia or cancer. Exposure to the virus occurs through sexual contact, so the more partners you have, the higher your risk of getting HPV. However, there is more to the story than just the virus.

Many women who have been exposed to the virus don’t develop dysplasia. We know of many factors that do contribute to cervical dysplasia, and all of them relate to a woman’s immune response to the virus. For example, smoking is the most important risk factor for any HPV related precancer or cancer. Many women do not even realize that even a women who is a nonsmoker who has sex with a smoker increases her risk for dysplasia! The carcinogens in cigarettes are concentrated in cervical mucus and semen, and affect the system’s ability to fight the virus. Similarly, women who take immunosuppressive drugs ¬†for arthritis or lupus, or after an organ transplant, are at increased risk for dysplasia. And, women with HIV have a weakened immune system and are at high risk for HPV related disease.

Learn more about cervical dysplasia, including treatments, in my helpful book, Not Your Mother’s Hysterectomy, which can be found here, and check out a video below from my YouTube channel, Ask Doctor K TV, on the differences between cancer and pre-cancer.

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