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Holy pap smear batman! what to do if yours isn’t ‘normal’…

Ever had an abnormal pap smear or know somebody who has? Like everything health related, we have options with health treatments. Many western medical treatments are aggressive, which can be wonderful if you’re at the end of your road. Everything has a place, it is simply a matter of working out what works for you. For me, I’m all about the alternatives, not because I like to be different, but because they work, without nasty side effects or consequences. These very consequences can at times, land somebody in deeper water than they first started. Which is why I want to share alternatives and just how effective these can be.

So back to the pap smear.

Nobody loves a pap smear. Equally nobody loves to get a bad result in any area of health.

Abnormal cell or tissue growth in the cervix is called cervical dysplasia. Dysplasia may or may not progress to cancer. A high percentage of cervical dysplaysias and cancers are linked to the human papiloma virus (HPV), meaning it is sexually transmitted. This alongside long term use of oral contraceptives, smoking, alcohol abuse, poor nutrition or an immune system which is poor functioning as well as some drugs and HIV infection are all risk factors for developing cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer.

Good news is, before you run off for any type of procedure, there are ways to treat cervical dysphasia.

When you have a pap test, a sample via a swab, is taken of the cells in your cervix. The swab contains epithelial cells and they are studied to see if they look normal or how close to normal they appear. A pap testgrades these cells on a range from 1 to 5. One or two on the scale are usually benign, however they should be followed up. When we get to 3 on the scale, is where your GP will follow it up for a closer look and 4 or 5 is cancerous and usually requires treatment.

If a pap test comes back with some small changes, it’s perfectly acceptable to treat this with some healthy living, supplementation and a kind lifestyle and then tested regularly to ensure this is working for you. You gotta know this much. Pre-cancerous cells are not cancer. Most cells that present this way, will happily go back to being normal again. The majority of such inflammation is related to something other than HPV like the pill (we’ve learnt just how little a fan I am here and here and here, as if I needed another reason) or alcohol, smoking or poor diet. Good news is the success rate using the right supplementation is extremely high.

Here are a few interesting stats:

Older women are less likely to have HPV infections

Best schedule pap smears away from the period time or if you have an infection (i.e. thrush). This can skew your results dramatically. (get your natural health care practitioner to treat you first and then go back and grab that smear) Also best to avoid using tampons 48 hours before the test – they too can cause inflammation that may show up as irregularities.

Conventional treatments for the treatment of cervical dysplasia use cryotherapy for small areas or using CO2 laser via colposcopy. In severe cases, the cervix may be removed. According to CMDT – NONE of these treatments can guarantee a remission or prevent recurrence. Reality is, you can still spread the virus even if you have been treated.

Here’s where the true, tried and tested methods of operation wellness overhaul fit in. Get your body back into gear and chances are, your body can do a great job of healing itself with the right guidance. I’m doing to dive deeper into the hows and why’s in the second part to this post, but I’ll give you a few things to think about until then.

If your pap smear shows with mild dysplasia – it may be a good idea to hold off on any procedures to see if you can get things back on track. Such procedures can be damaging, and whilst I agree that left untreated, these conditions are life threatening, they are also extremely treatable with natural methods. Set yourself a target of 3-6 months (talk it through with your gynacologist and explain what you are doing), get healthy, supplement right (we will talk about this more next week) and go back and re-test. You’re in control of your body, so take the reigns.

I’ll be back next week to talk more about what to do if your pap isn’t normal – to outline specific diet, lifestyle and supplements that may be useful to get you back on track. Of course, no two situations will be the same and you always must weigh up your options but getting healthy is never, ever doing to do you any harm.

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5 Responses to “Holy pap smear batman! what to do if yours isn’t ‘normal’…”

  1. Vee

    If I had my time over, I wouldn’t have had a lletz to treat my cin3 without trying natural methods first. I got talked into it, and was forced onto the pill for two months as well (I’ve always refused to be on the pill!) since that time I have had multiple ‘unexplained’ pelvic infections, which the gyno told me must be my ‘bowels’ and had nothing to do with the procedure (needless to say, i have a new – wonderful- gyno). 6 months later I ended up with an ectopic and now have no right tube and have been trying to get pregnant for 18 months – there is no way to know if its related, but I never had any gyno problems till that procedure. I’m sure I could have treated it naturally as I had a friend who pleaded with me to go natural first and see if that would help. Since then i have upped my immune support and other things, and have since had 4 clear Pap smears.

    I also know of women who have waited years to get a Pap smear with very sad results, and unfortunately had a colleague who waited 4-5 years and ended up having end stage cervical cancer.

    I really believe the best way with preventing cervical cancer is regular Pap smears, and trying natural methods and immune support FIRST before any invasive procedures (unless its very far advanced, that’s another story I guess :)). Great post, really passionate about this one!

    Reply
  2. EEB

    Be very careful with the Australian program, it’s seriously out of date and over-screens which does nothing more than produce huge numbers of false positives and leads to potentially harmful over-treatment/excess biopsies. Lifetime risk of cervix cancer is 0.65%, it’s rare, lifetime risk of referral for colposcopy/biopsy…a huge 77%…thanks to serious over-screening.

    Look at oversea programs that are evidence based…like Finalnd and the Netherlands. Since the 1960s the Finns hae had a 7 pap test program, 5 yearly from 30 to 60, they have the lowest rates of cc in the world and refer far fewer women, their program produces fewer false positives. The Dutch have the same program, but their Health Council has recommended scrapping population pap testing and introducing 5 hrHPV primary tests at ages 30,35,40,50 and 60 and ONLY the roughly 5% who are HPV+ and at risk will be offered a 5 yearly pap test. The Dutch are already using a HPV self test device, the Delphi Screener, also available in Singapore and being rolled out in other countries. Excess and misinformation is the norm here, women should demand evidence based testing. We need an independent enquiry…why wasn’t our program changed years ago? Why are women being given bad medical advice that risks their health? There was never a need to worry and harm so many women…

    As a low risk woman my risk of cc was near zero, the risks were too high for me and I have always declined to test. I’ve found official sources of information to be unreliable, go to HPV Today, Edition 24, which sets out the new Dutch program and the Delphi Bioscience site talks about HPV self testing.

    Reply
    • Nat

      Thank you for this! This is wonderful for people to know.

      Reply
      • Karen

        The good news is that Australian cervical screening pathway is currently being reviewed, and it’s likely that Australia will follow in the footsteps of these European countries. It’s a long and slow process (as with many things in the Government) but it’s happening (more info can be found here http://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/ncsp-renewal)

        I know we’re a little out of date on some of the evidence, but it takes a long time and a lot of checking to change government health guidelines. They have to be sure that they’re making a decision that benefits as many people as possible. Keep in mind, though, that the incidence of cervical cancer has halved since the program began in 1991, and cervical cancer continues to be a leading killer of women in developing countries without screening programs.

        I entirely agree that sometimes, the best thing to do is to focus on getting your immune system healthy enough to fight the virus, but having regular Pap smears still means you can know whether or not you’re on track 🙂

  3. K

    I’m 29. At my gynaecologist visit, the ultrasound showed very thick endometrium and a large (polyp?) in the endometrial lining… The pap smear showed CIN 1… The pathologists recommend a colposcopy and or a D and C. I am not on any oral contraceptives but the gynaecologist wants me to go onto Visanne (a progesterone based pill, as far as I know)… I’m very sceptical though… Any thoughts? Or courses I can try and attend?

    Reply