Cervical dysplasia is the abnormal growth of the cells that line the surface of the cervix. It is usually caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). A small percentage of women diagnosed with cervical dysplasia will go on to develop cervical cancer, which is one of the most preventable cancers.
Integrative interventions like folate and green tea extract can help reduce the risk of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer.
Risk Factors for Developing Cervical Dysplasia
- HPV infection, a sexually transmitted infection found most frequently in teenagers and women in their early 20s
- Oral contraceptives for longer than five years
- Three or more full-term pregnancies and having the first full-term pregnancy before age 17
Testing for Cervical Dysplasia
- Pap test: a procedure that involves removing a small sample of cervical cells, every three years for ages 21‒29, every five years for ages 30‒65
- HPV test: every five years for ages 30‒65
Conventional Medical Treatments
- Prevention through HPV vaccination (Cervarix, Gardasil, Gardasil 9)
- Watchful waiting, as lower degrees of dysplasia frequently resolve without treatment
- Cryotherapy, LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure), and laser conization
- Biospectroscopy (the examination of the wavelength of light reflected from living tissue); DNA methylation testing of HPV; At-home HPV testing
- HPV immunotherapy drug, VGX 3100; Carrageenan-based vaginal gel for prevention of high-risk HPV infection; High-dose vitamin D vaginal suppositories
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
- A greater consumption of fruits, vegetables, green tea, fiber, dietary vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene, lutein, and folate protected against cervical dysplasia or cancer
- Folate and Vitamin B12: Low serum folate and vitamin B12 levels have been associated in multiple studies with an increased risk of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer.
- Vitamin E: Alpha-tocopherol levels were found to be lower in women with cervical abnormalities or cancer, and supplementation with vitamin E promoted reversal of cervical dysplasia in a randomized controlled trial.
- Diindolylmethane (DIM) and Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C): DIM, derived from the digestion of I3C, appears to inhibit or prevent the progression from cervical dysplasia to cervical cancer.
- Green Tea Extract: Women with cervical dysplasia who supplemented with green tea extract had nearly a 7 times higher response rate than women receiving no treatment.
- Vitamin C: Women with the highest dietary vitamin C intake had an 80% reduced risk of cervical dysplasia compared with women whose vitamin C intake was lowest.