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What is Mild Dysplasia?

Mild dysplasia is a medical term describing early, subtle changes in cells that could potentially progress to cancer if left unchecked. It's often detected during routine screenings, such as a Pap smear. These cellular alterations are usually treatable, emphasizing the importance of regular check-ups. Wondering how these changes can affect your health long-term? Let's explore the implications together.
Lindsay Kahl
Lindsay Kahl

The term “dysplasia” refers to abnormal cell changes of the cervix. Mild dysplasia is the least severe 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 severe stages and even to cervical cancer during the course of 10 years or more.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) almost always is the cause of cervical dysplasia. HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that usually is passed through vaginal or anal sex. Some types of HPV can cause genital warts, and other types can lead to cervical dysplasia.

Certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause cervical dysplasia, a possible precursor to cervical cancer.
Certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause cervical dysplasia, a possible precursor to cervical cancer.

A woman does not experience any symptoms with mild dysplasia. Symptoms typically do not develop until dysplasia has progressed and become cancerous, which is why it is crucial for women to have regular Papanicolau tests. Pap tests, as they commonly are called, can detect cervical dysplasia and allow for early intervention when necessary.

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

A woman can reduce her risk of developing mild dysplasia by practicing monogamy.
A woman can reduce her risk of developing mild dysplasia by practicing monogamy.

If dysplasia progresses, there are several treatment options. A doctor might use a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove abnormal tissue. With cryosurgery or cryocauterization, 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 the abnormal cervical cells.

Women who have had multiple sex partners have a greater risk of developing cervical dysplasia.
Women who have had multiple sex partners have a greater risk of developing cervical dysplasia.

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

Condom use can help prevent cervical dysplasia, which can cause the human papilloma virus.
Condom use can help prevent cervical dysplasia, which can cause the human papilloma virus.

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

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    • Certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause cervical dysplasia, a possible precursor to cervical cancer.
      By: javiindy
      Certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause cervical dysplasia, a possible precursor to cervical cancer.
    • A woman can reduce her risk of developing mild dysplasia by practicing monogamy.
      By: zagorodnaya
      A woman can reduce her risk of developing mild dysplasia by practicing monogamy.
    • Women who have had multiple sex partners have a greater risk of developing cervical dysplasia.
      By: BlueSkyImages
      Women who have had multiple sex partners have a greater risk of developing cervical dysplasia.
    • Condom use can help prevent cervical dysplasia, which can cause the human papilloma virus.
      By: yaskii
      Condom use can help prevent cervical dysplasia, which can cause the human papilloma virus.
    • HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that is usually passed through vaginal or anal sex.
      By: Artem Furman
      HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that is usually passed through vaginal or anal sex.
    • Dysplasia refers to abnormal cell changes of the cervix.
      By: reineg
      Dysplasia refers to abnormal cell changes of the cervix.
    • A doctor may take a tissue sample for biopsy during a colposcopy.
      By: Leah-Anne Thompson
      A doctor may take a tissue sample for biopsy during a colposcopy.
    • Women who smoke are more at risk for cervical dysplasia.
      By: triocean
      Women who smoke are more at risk for cervical dysplasia.
    • Regular pap tests can detect cervical dysplasia, as cervical dysplasia is typically asymptomatic.
      By: jovannig
      Regular pap tests can detect cervical dysplasia, as cervical dysplasia is typically asymptomatic.