Pregnancy and Cervical Dysplasia
If you are pregnant, it is important to keep tabs on your general health and wellbeing. This includes remaining up-to-date on your sexual health. Cervical dysplasia is on the rise in North America, and if you are pregnant it is important to find out if you have it. Cervical dysplasia can usually be easily treated and typically has no adverse affects on pregnancy or baby. However, there are some complications associated with cervical dysplasia, which may threaten pregnancy or your babyï¿½s health.
What is Cervical Dysplasia?
Cervical dysplasia refers to the growth of abnormal cells on your cervix. Your cervix is located near the bottom of your uterus, and functions as the opening to your uterus. Cervical dysplasia is generally found during your annual pap smear.
Between 250,000 and 1 million women are diagnosed with some form of cervical dysplasia every year. Cervical dysplasia is often worrisome as it can indicate cancer or precancerous cells in your cervix. However, with proper treatment, a large percentage of women with cervical dysplasia never develop cancer.
Types of Cervical Dysplasia
Cervical dysplasia is classified according to its severity. There are three classes of cervical dysplasia:
- Mild cervical dysplasia: this is the most common type of cervical dysplasia. 70% of these cases resolve on their own, without treatment.
- Moderate cervical dysplasia: this type of dysplasia is more likely to require treatment and may progress to cancer.
- Severe cervical dysplasia: this generally indicates a more progressed form of dysplasia, and may indicate precancerous cells
Causes of Cervical Dysplasia
The cause of cervical dysplasia is still unknown, although there are a variety of factors that may contribute to the growth of abnormal cervical cells. These include:
- HPV infection, also known as genital warts
- HIV infection
- exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), which was given to pregnant women between 1938 and 1971
- long-term use of oral contraceptives (more than 5 years)
- cigarette smoking
- poor nutrition
Symptoms of Cervical Dysplasia
Unfortunately, there are generally no symptoms of cervical dysplasia; this is why it is so important to have an annual pap smear. Occasionally, though, cervical dysplasia is accompanied by some symptoms, including:
- genital warts
- irregular bleeding
- spotting after intercourse
- unusual vaginal discharge
- low back pain
Cervical Dysplasia Treatment
Mild cervical dysplasia is generally left untreated, because it can rectify itself. You may be given more frequent pap smears to keep an eye on any abnormal cervical cells. You may also receive colponoscopy, in which your cervical cells are viewed through a special microscope for any changes. If your abnormal cells disappear, you will not require treatment.