Abnormal PAP Smears

cervical dysplasia cancer abnormal PAP smear
Cervical Cancer

What to Do About an Abnormal PAP Smear

by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Have you had an abnormal PAP smear? Want to know how to prevent it from happening again? Naturopathic medicine can offer treatment and prevention of abnormal pap smears to prevent a recurrence.

Some facts about PAPs and cervical cancer:

  • Over 90% of cervical cancers can be cured when detected early and treated.
  • Cervical dysplasia is not cervical cancer. It is considered a “pre-cancerous” condition.
  • Treatment of cervical dysplasia by a LEEP procedure can weaken the cervix causing difficulty in maintaining a subsequent pregnancy.

The following can increase your risk of cervical cancer:

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – almost all cases of cervical cancer are linked to infection with HPV.
  • Smoking – women who smoke are at a higher risk.
  • Weakened Immune System – since HPV is a virus a healthy immune system helps a woman get rid of the HPV infection.
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) – infection with other sexually transmitted diseases like herpes (HSV) can increase the risk.

Naturopathic Treatment of Abnormal PAP Smears

The best medicine is always prevention: quit smoking, strengthen your immune system and always use condoms.

Liver detoxification

A liver detox can help clear out excess estrogen and estrogen mimickers (but not the kind in the kits found at the health food store).  Too much estrogen or estrogen dominance can provoke reproductive cancers.  Estrogen mimicking chemicals from plastics, pesticides and pollution, also called xenoestrogens, can further augment problems related to estrogen.

Antioxidants

Women with cervical dysplasia have been found to have lower levels of antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E and selenium.

Folic acid

Folic acid helps prevent DNA damage, genetic mutations that can lead to cancer.  Dysplasia can be treated and prevented with high doses of folic acid. However, up to 60% of the population cannot take regular folic acid supplements or folic acid from food and convert it to ACTIVE folic acid.  Which means that supplementing folic acid does no good and may in fact be harmful.  There is a blood test available to determine if you have this genetic mutation, known as MTHFR.  To be on the safe side, I always just supplement women with the active form of folic acid, L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is very important for mucous membrane tissue, that is the tissue that lines the vagina, respiratory tract and digestive tract.  It is also a powerful antioxidant to prevent free radical damage and an anti-viral.  It can be used locally to heal cervical tissue on its own or after conventional dysplasia treatments.

As for the conventional approaches, I much prefer the prevention and improve immune function approach because there are no risks involved and there are many long term health benefits. Naturopathic treatment can be used in conjunction with conventional treatment to expedite the healing process or after conventional treatment to prevent recurrences.  I have had patients who had undergone repeated LEEP procedures only to keep having recurrences.  Naturopathic treatment provided a more permanent solution for these women.

The Benefits to Naturopathic Treatment of Abnormal PAP Smears or Dysplasia

  • You not only remove unhealthy cells, but you also repair and heal the tissue
  • You address all aspects of your health that may have caused or contributed to the abnormal PAP smear
  • You prevent future recurrences

Research on Natural Treatment of Dysplasia

A treatment group of women 20-60 years old with high risk HPV and low grade dysplasia received twice weekly self-administered intravaginal infusions of 0.5 mM zinc citrate solution containing CIZAR (zinc chloride and citric acid anhydrous) for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks of the zinc citrate solution vaginal infusion twice per week, high risk HPV was eliminated in 64.47% of patients compared to the spontaneous clearance rate in 15.25% of patients in the control group. Source: Gyn Onc 2011;122:303-306

In this study, a significant preventive effect for cervical neoplasm [cervical dysplasia, carcinoma in situ (CIN) and invasive cervical cancer] was found with the highest intakes or serum levels of vitamin B12 vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, folate and lycopene compared with the lowest intake group or serum level. Source: BJOG 2011;118:1285-1291.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here may not apply precisely to your individual situation. Diagnostic and therapeutic choices must always be tailored to the individual patient’s circumstances, and consultation with a licensed naturopathic physician should be undertaken before following any of the treatment strategies suggested in this web site.

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Abnormal PAP Smears
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Having an abnormal PAP can be upsetting and frightening. Other than taking a wait and see approach, there are natural means of helping fight the HPV virus, heal the tissue and prevent recurrence of an abnormal PAP.
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