I have been diagnosed with mild dysplasia. A girl in my sorority told me that you can spread dysplasia to your partner and guys will never know they have it. Is this true and what does my fiancée need to do?
The term “dysplasia” refers to abnormal cells in your cervix that were probably found in a Pap smear. The cervix is the neck of the uterus, closest to the vagina.
In cryosurgery, the doctor removes the abnormal cells by “freezing” the affected part of the cervix. Mild dysplasia isn’t treated in every case because sometimes the cells return to normal on their own. The concern is that if they’re not removed, they might someday develop into cervical cancer. Rest assured that you do not have cancer. Some people don’t even consider mild dysplasia precancerous.
Cryosurgery is a low-risk procedure that will prevent those abnormal cells from becoming cancerous years down the line. It’s not a guarantee against future cervical cancer, but regular gynecological exams and Pap smears can significantly reduce your risk. Cervical cancer is considered a preventable disease.
Your sorority sister is wrong about the dysplasia, but she’s not totally off base. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that causes dysplasia in some cases. HPV has become one of this country’s leading STDs. It’s extremely prevalent in what I assume is your age group — adolescents and young adults.
Talk with your doctor or other health professional about the possibility that you and your fiancée have HPV. It can be difficult to detect. Unlike bacterial STDs, this virus can’t be cured, although occasionally, it seems to go away of its own accord. Even though there’s not a lot of you can do about HPV, you should know whether you have it, so you can avoid spreading it and watch more closely for cervical changes.
By the way, if either you or your fiancée smoke, you should quit. Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of dysplasia and cervical cancer. Some of the chemicals in tobacco smoke may be present in semen and spread from male to female during intercourse, possibly leading to the cell changes of cervical dysplasia.
Mild cervical dysplasia may also be linked to nutritional deficiencies. You should try to eat a healthy, varied diet, with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. I know that’s a lot easier said than done, especially with all the demands of studying and college life. But it’s also important to establish good eating habits that will help protect your health.