Medicinal Herbs to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Don't panic at the news of an abnormal pap test.

  • Vitex
  • Stacks of flat squamous cells (above) make up the epithelium, or outer layer of the cervix. Small changes in these cells won’t necessarily develop into dysplasia, but may be a warning sign. Moderate to severe dysplasia indicates elevated numbers of abnormal epithelial cells. In severe dysplasia, abnormal cells extend through ­ two-thirds of the ­epithelium. When the disease progresses to cancer, abnormal cells exist throughout the thickness of the epithelium and can spread.
  • The portion of the cervix located at the top of the vagina is covered by squamous epithelial cells; the cervical canal is lined with ­columnar cells. The border between these two types of cells is called the transformation zone and is located around the opening of the cervix. Cervical dysplasia or cancer typically begins in the transformation zone. Cells in this zone are very sensitive and may respond to changes in pH, toxins produced by the vagina’s microflora or circulating in the bloodstream, substances in a sex partner’s semen, douches, contraceptive foams, infections such as genital herpes or warts, or an IUD. The transformation zone constantly shifts its ­position as women age and may even move inside the cervical canal.
  • Burdock

“Your pap test shows cervical dysplasia.”

Many women worry when they hear their doctors say these words. Cervical dysplasia, or abnormal cell growth on the cervix, could be a sign that cancer is developing. If ­untreated, cervical dysplasia may spread to the upper vagina, the uterus, and other parts of the body.

But the progression is far from inevitable. For many women, these cell abnormalities clear up on their own. And for others, the early warnings provided by annual Pap tests and the available array of herbal and medical treatments offer chances to defeat cervical dysplasia before it becomes cancer.

Who has it?

Approximately 5 percent of all Pap smear tests conducted in the United States note cervical dysplasia, with the peak incidence occurring in women aged twenty-five to thirty-five. Health practitioners know that some women are more at risk for cervical dysplasia than others, particularly those who smoke, who are vitamin-deficient, or who have been infected with the viruses that cause herpes, genital warts, or HIV.

The more advanced the dysplasia, the more likely it is to become cancerous, but even mild cervical dysplasia should be closely monitored. When a Pap test reveals cervical dysplasia, another Pap test is usually ordered to confirm the first test result. If abnormal cells are still present, a procedure called a colposcopy may be performed, which allows the doctor to examine cervical tissue in greater detail and biopsy any abnormal areas. If the cells from a follow-up Pap turn out to be premalignant, your doctor may surgically remove or otherwise destroy the offending cells.

Herbal healing

You can help correct mild to moderate cervical dysplasia by adopting a natural health program that includes exercise and a nutrient-rich, toxin-free diet. This regime helps support the body’s immune system and cleansing abilities, two important functions when it comes to treating cervical dysplasia. The five herbal action groups described below are especially strong allies.

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