What is mild dysplasia?

The term "dysplasia" refers to abnormal cell changes of the cervix. Mild dysplasia is the least serious stage and means that a woman's cervical cells are slightly abnormal. Other terms for mild dysplasia include low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, grade 1. If left untreated, mild dysplasia can progress to more serious stages and even cervical cancer over 10 years or more.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is almost always the cause of cervical dysplasia. HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that is usually spread through vaginal or anal sex. Some types of HPV can cause genital warts, and other types can cause cervical dysplasia.

A woman does not experience any symptoms with mild dysplasia. Symptoms usually don't develop until the dysplasia has progressed and becomes cancerous, so it's crucial for women to have regular Pap tests. Pap tests, as they are commonly called, can detect cervical dysplasia and allow early intervention when needed.

In most cases, mild dysplasia goes away on its own, and a woman may not need any treatment. After it is detected, a doctor can determine the severity and decide if treatment is necessary. Often a doctor will schedule a woman for more frequent Pap tests to look for additional cell changes. Some women with mild dysplasia undergo colposcopy, which is a medical procedure that allows the doctor to examine the cervical cells more closely. A doctor may take a biopsy tissue sample during this procedure.

If the dysplasia progresses, there are several treatment options. A doctor may use a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove abnormal tissue. With cryosurgery or cryocautery, the doctor uses a cryoprobe to freeze and kill abnormal cells. Another option is laser ablation, which is when a doctor uses a laser to kill abnormal cervical cells.

Women who were sexually active before the age of 18, had multiple sexual partners, or gave birth before the age of 16 are at increased risk of developing cervical dysplasia. Women with weakened immune systems and those who smoke are also more likely to get it. A woman can reduce her risk by practicing monogamy and using condoms during sex, which will help reduce her risk of contracting HPV. Women between the ages of 9 and 26 can also be vaccinated against some types of HPV.

The prognosis for women with mild dysplasia is excellent. Many cases resolve on their own, and cases that persist can be treated early before they progress to cervical cancer. Women should have routine Pap tests to successfully detect and prevent

Go up