A Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It alerts doctors to the presence of suspicious cells on your cervix. Women who have an abnormal Pap smear such as ASCUS are often told to wait and repeat the Pap in 6 to 12 months’ time. But what if you can do more than just “wait”? What if you can reverse ASCUS or cervical dysplasia- naturally? This is where naturopathic medicine comes in.
Consider the following:
1) Many women, particularly younger ones, who have ASCUS or cervical dysplasia (LSIL, HSIL, CIN I, etc.) also find out that they test positive for high risk sub-types of HPV (aka human papillomavirus). A chronic HPV infection can potentially lead to cervical cancer if left unmonitored or untreated. While some women’s immune systems are able to eradicate the virus, others face stubborn HPV infections with Pap smears that keep coming back with increasingly severe abnormalities. Supplementation with the medicinal mushroom, Coriolus versicolor, has been shown not only to reverse abnormal cervical cells but also fight off HPV. Dr. Silva Couto found that Coriolus supplementation over a one-year period increased regression of LSIL (72% regression rate compared to 47.5% without supplementation) and induced clearance of the high risk sub-types of HPV (90% regression rate compared to 8.5% without supplementation). These results were so impressive that they were presented at the 20th European Congress of Obstetrics and Gynocology in 2008. In another study involving cervical cancer, treatment with Coriolus together with radiotherapy showed clearance of cancer cells in 36% of the patients versus 11% of controls and improved the 5-year survival from 48% to 79%.
2) Nutrient deficiencies are common in women who have cervical dysplasia. Several studies show that low serum folate levels are linked to cervical dysplasia while high dose folic acid supplementation can reverse cell abnormalities.
3) Vitamin C and other antioxidants may play a role in the treatment of cervical dysplasia. A study on Korean women looked at 58 colposcopy-confirmed cases of CIN and compared them to 86 women with normal Pap smears. The plasma concentration of Vitamin C was significantly lower in the CIN group than in the control group, suggesting a role for Vitamin C in the treatment of CIN.
4) There are many botanical medicine/ nutraceutical protocols that can help boost the immune system and provide overall support for optimal health. Each protocol may differ depending on the individual because even the same diagnosis may have different root causes. For example, in younger women, ASCUS Pap smear results are more often caused by HPV infection than a vaginal infection or cervical inflammation whereas in older women, abnormal results are more often caused by the latter. Dr. Yik assesses and investigates all aspects of your health in order to determine the best individualized treatment for you.
At the end of the day, be informed of your options for managing cervical health. There are times when natural medicine is not an option for treating cervical dysplasia due to the severity and location of the disease but in many cases, naturopathic treatment of cervical dysplasia and HPV is a safe and effective option.
Please note: For licensed naturopathic doctors, guidelines for referral to colposcopy are the same as ob/gyns.
Bogdanova J. [Coriolus versicolor–innovation in prevention of oncogynecological diseases, especially HPV]. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia). 2008;47 Suppl 3:51-3.
Ghosh C, et al. Dietary intakes of selected nutrients and food groups and risk of cervical cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(3):331-41.
Piyathilake CJ, et al. Lower risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in women with high plasma folate and sufficient vitamin B12 in the post-folic acid fortification era. Cancer Prev Res. 2009;2(7):658-664.
Piyathilake CJ, et al. Lower red blood cell folate enhances the HPV-16-associated risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Nutrition. 2007;23(3):203-10.
Lee Gj, et al. Antioxidant vitamins and lipid peroxidation in patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Apr;20(2):267-72.