Cervical Dysplasia or Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia as it is also known is basically the development of abnormal squamous cells on the surface of the cervix.
Though in a majority of cases, cervical dysplasia remains stable and non-threatening; in some cases this may take on a premalignant form.
For a majority of those that have cervical dysplasia, the immune system of the body is able to eliminate any problems without actual intervention.
What are the causes of Cervical Dysplasia? The HPV (human Papilloma virus) is responsible for causing cervical dysplasia. This is the basic infection that is responsible for causing genital warts or mild dysplasia to severe dysplasia and even cervical cancer.
There are certain factors that increase risk of HPV induced dysplasia and even subsequent cervical cancer.
Smoking is a factor that is seen to substantially increase risk.
Other conditions that make a person immune compromised such as HIV etc are also more at risk.
The importance of the Pap Smear in detecting Cervical Dysplasia: The fact is that cervical dysplasia has no observable signs or symptoms and as such is impossible to detect without screening.
Since this is a condition that typically takes years to develop, regular screening is the best weapon against it so as to be able to detect any chances of developing cancer in the future.
This is where a pap smear (Papanicolaou test) assumes great importance. This test is performed by obtaining a smear or sample of cells from the outside of the cervix using a brush or a spatula or a swab. This sample of cells collected is then observed in order that any irregularity, disorder or abnormality can be detected.
Other tests for detecting cervical dysplasia could include colposcopy (examination of the vulva, vaginal walls and uterine cervix), doing a biopsy (taking of tissue samples to examine for abnormality or malignancy) and/or HPV testing.
What is the treatment for cervical dysplasia: The treatment usually depends upon the type or severity of cervical dysplasia that a woman has.
Mild or low grade cervical dysplasia generally requires no actual treatment and can resolve itself without intervention. Monitoring the situation is more important than treatment.
Since treatment is not required, monitoring is done to see that the problem does not develop and progress into a malignant or cancerous form.
The treatment for high grade cervical dysplasia could be performed in two ways: ablation (destruction of the abnormal area) or resection (removal of the abnormal tissue).
Though both procedures are seen to be effective, in general the former is recommended for milder conditions of dysplasia and the latter is indicated for more severe or cancerous conditions.
So as we have seen the diagnosis of cervical dysplasia need not be any cause for panic. For a large majority of women this may be an important warning sign that could indicate that a serious problem may be possible in the future.
However, in most cases, cervical dysplasia is something that resolves itself without treatment or medication and for a vast majority of women who have the condition; it is nothing to worry about.