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Mild cervical dysplasia is a condition in which a relatively small number of cervical cells grow and replicate abnormally. It is almost always caused by a specific strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV), and most commonly appears in women between the ages of 18 and 35. Mild cervical dysplasia does not typically cause adverse physical symptoms, but there is a small chance that the condition can eventually turn cancerous. Most cases of cervical dysplasia are relieved by following a gynecologist's recommendations about lifestyle decisions.
HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that cannot be cured. Most instances of HPV infection do not result in any health problems in women, though it is possible to develop mild cervical dysplasia at any time after being exposed to the virus. For reasons that are not well understood by doctors, HPV occasionally infiltrates the walls of the cervix and disrupts normal cell growth. HPV-positive women appear to be at a higher risk of developing dysplasia if they smoke cigarettes and fail to maintain healthy diets, probably because such lifestyle decisions impair immune system functioning.
A woman who has mild cervical dysplasia is unlikely to experience symptoms. The condition usually remains undetected until results of routine pap smear tests reveal abnormalities. If a gynecologist detects HPV after a pap smear, he or she will conduct a series of diagnostic tests to check for dysplasia.
A doctor uses a device called a colposcope to carefully inspect the interior walls of the cervix. The colposcope is essentially a lighted magnifying glass that a gynecologist can use to detect and study lesions or other cellular abnormalities. If colposcopy findings suggest dysplasia, the doctor collects a small sample of tissue for further analysis. Laboratory testing results can confirm the presence of mild cervical dysplasia.
The condition does not normally need to be treated right away, since most instances of mild cervical dysplasia simply go away on their own in time. It is essential, however, for a woman to receive regular screenings to ensure dysplasia does not worsen. Gynecologists usually instruct their patients to quit smoking, eat healthy foods, and maintain steady exercise routines to help prevent the condition from recurring.
In rare cases, abnormal cells begin to replicate at a rapid rate and affect a larger and deeper area of the cervix. If the complication is not discovered right away, there is a chance cancerous tumors could form in the reproductive tract. When dysplasia does worsen, a gynecologist can usually destroy abnormal sections of tissue by freezing or cauterizing the affected cells. He or she may need to surgically remove tissue if other treatment options prove ineffective.