Natural Treatment for Cervical Dysplasia and HPV
When a woman receives a diagnosis of an abnormal pap smear or cervical dysplasia, often her first reaction is fear. Although it’s a very common occurrence, if you have been told that you have abnormal cells on your cervix, it is natural to want to know as much as you can about your condition, and the options you have for treating it.
The naturopathic whole body approach to health emphasizes your own inherent ability to heal with gentle, nature-based intervention. In addition to precisely treating the abnormal cervical cells, Escharotic Therapy restores the health of the cervix, and decreases inflammation. A combination of nutritional guidance, anti-viral supplements, and investigating the unique factors that may be preventing your immune system from clearing HPV are other benefits to the therapy.
Ready to take charge of your health and assist your body in healing? I’m here to help!
What is Cervical Dysplasia?
Cervical Dysplasia is the term given to the presence of abnormal cells on the cervix. These abnormal cells are usually caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. In the majority of cases, the body will heal an HPV infection on its own. Sometimes, however, the body may not be able to heal, and the cervical dysplasia worsens. In rare cases, it can progress to cervical cancer.
I’ve been told I have Cervical Dysplasia! What do I do now?
Step One is to call me to schedule a free 15-minute phone consult. On that call, I’ll discuss your diagnosis with you, any treatment you may have already undergone, and determine the level of severity of your Dysplasia. I will describe the gentle, holistic treatments I offer, determine if you’re a candidate for Escharotic Therapy, and answer your initial questions.
My medical doctor described an electrosurgical excision. How is that different from your treatment?
Conventional treatment for cervical dysplasia involves either watchful waiting, or a LEEP Procedure. LEEP stands for Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure. Your gynecologist would use a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to cut our abnormal tissue and cauterize it. It removes a significant amount of tissue, and in addition to prolonged bleeding and risk of infection, may leave scar tissue. A scarred cervix may not open and close properly, which can interfere with conception and normal childbirth.
In addition, LEEP does nothing to deal with the underlying cause of the cervical dysplasia, which is the HPV infection. Supporting your body’s natural intelligence and strengthening your immune system is a critical component of naturopathic medicine. We are the first “functional medicine” doctors, not merely treating symptoms, but looking for the root cause of any illness.
Is this an “either/or” decision? Either LEEP or Escharotic Therapy?
There are many factors that affect a woman’s decision about which treatment to pursue. Even for those who select LEEP Therapy, I can still offer immune system support and anti-viral treatment to promote further healing of the cervix. If you choose Escharotic Therapy, you can always select a higher level of intervention if necessary at a later time.
I like the idea of a holistic, natural approach with fewer side effects. What do I do after our phone conversation?
Step Two is to schedule a visit to the office. Before you arrive, I ask you to fill out a comprehensive Health Intake Form. Because it’s a virus that created the abnormal cells, optimally supporting your body’s immune system is critical to fighting it off. I’ll review copies of your PAP assessment and Colposcopy report, if you’ve had that done, plus any recent lab work. (If you don’t have access to copies of your medical reports, I can request them.)
Your lab results are critical to determining the health status, and addressing any deficiencies that may be helped with vitamins or other natural supplements. I want to give you every opportunity to heal!
Okay, I’ve filled out the forms and forwarded all my test results. What happens at my first visit?
Your first visit will be 90 minutes, which may be longer than you’ve ever spent with a conventional medical doctor! The first half of the visit is going through your health history, filling in any gaps, and clarifying any questions from your intake form. I may order additional lab work if there are missing tests that may help me more clearly assess your overall health. My unique approach includes an emphasis on nutrition and lifestyle, and an examination of your body’s micronutrient levels, such as fatty acids, enzymes, and anti-oxidants.
The second half of the appointment, if you decide to proceed with Escharotic Therapy, is to put together a personalized plan and schedule for your treatment. If we’ve already determined that you’re a good candidate for the therapy, we can begin treatment that day.
Can you explain more about Escharotic Therapy?
Specialized in-office treatments called cervical “escharotics” refer to the exfoliating effect of an application of medicine to abnormal tissue. Escharotic treatments begin with the application of a natural enzyme, bromelain, to the surface of the cervix. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple that breaks down the walls of abnormal cells. This is left in place for 15 minutes, and it essentially dissolves the top layer of cells on the cervix that are infected with the HPV virus.
The bromelain is then washed away with an herbal solution that stimulates the regrowth of normal tissue, and is very soothing. This is followed by an application of Sanguinaria Canadensis tincture, from a plant known as bloodroot, which is mixed with a solution of zinc chloride, and left on the cervix for one minute. The cervix is washed again with soothing Calendula, then herbal vaginal suppositories with anti-viral properties are inserted and left in overnight.
The exact formula is customized for each individual; for instance, sometimes other ingredients, such as turmeric, may be added.
How many treatments will I need?
That’s Step Three. You will have your own treatment schedule, based on your lifestyle and availability. However, I generally recommend 12 treatments, spaced either twice weekly for six weeks, or once a week for 12 weeks.
There’s a great deal of flexibility in customizing your treatment to fit your schedule. Women come to Shalva Clinic for Escharotic Therapy from all over the world, and throughout the United States. Recent patients have arrived from Poland, Japan, and the Netherlands. For those patients traveling a great distance, we offer back-to-back treatments on a Friday/Saturday, with a longer break in between.
Are there any side effects I should be aware of?
Any side effects are minimal, which we can discuss at the first treatment. There may be some cramping, which can be minimized with a heating pad. Some women may feel a temporary burning or tingling. Rarely, there is some bleeding, if the cervix is particularly inflamed.
The advantage of the natural escharotic method is that it is actually far more sophisticated than the LEEP procedure. Escharotic treatment does not damage normal tissue, and stimulates the regrowth of new, healthy cells, which the LEEP procedure does not.
In addition, I prescribe a supplement/diet/lifestyle approach to support your healing, critical to a complete recovery. Because of the multiple health benefits, most women prefer this gentle, more natural method of treatment.
What happens after I’ve completed my 12 treatments?
The body takes time to heal, and we let a few weeks pass for the cervix to recover. After that, I repeat the PAP smear—or you can return to your gynecologist for a repeat PAP. Many women find that the HPV has gone, and their cervix has returned to normal tissue. If not, a follow up colposcopy and/or biopsy may be recommended.
You may continue to work with me for optimal health and well-being, or return to your regular practitioners. My goal is for you to live a long, strong, and happy life!