Dysplasia is abnormal growth or development of cells. Cervical dysplasia happens in the cells covering the surface of a cervix. If cervical dysplasia is not treated, it may lead to cervical cancer.
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Cervical dysplasia is most often caused by a sexually transmitted virus. The virus is called the human papillomavirus (HPV).
There are different types of HPV. The risk of cervical disease will differ based on the type of HPV.
Things that may increase the chance of cervical dysplasia include:
There are often no symptoms with cervical dysplasia. Cervical changes are most often found in screening tests.
Cervical dysplasia is often found as part of regular screening. A pap tests takes a sample of cervix cells. The sample is sent to a lab for testing. After a pap test cervical dysplasia may be diagnosed as:
A colposcopy and biopsy may be done after abnormal Pap test. A small sample of abnormal cells will be removed and tested at a lab. It will help to get more information on cell changes.
Testing for HPV may also be done since it is a common cause of cervical dysplasia.
Note: pap test screening will be done more often after abnormal results.
Treatment will vary based on type, location, and area that is affected. Some dysplasia does not need treatment or will go away on its own. Regular pap tests will be done to track changes.
Cervical dysplasia that increases the risk for cancer will be treated. The goal of treatment is to destroy or remove abnormal cells. Options include:
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Sexual Health Association
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
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Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Last Updated: 3/9/2021