The pathological condition at which the change in the mucous membrane of the cervix is observed is a leukoplakia. The essence of the process is the keratinization of the multilayered epithelium, which, when examined microscopically, is visualized as dense patches slightly elevated above the surface.Cervical leukoplakiahas no clear clinical signs, therefore it is diagnosed only with gynecological examination in mirrors.
The reason for applying to a gynecologist may be the appearance of white secretions of dense nature. Also, the disease is detected in colposcopy, cytological examination of smears from the cervix and by biopsy with histology. In the structure of all gynecological diseases leukoplakia occupies 1-12%, which is quite a common process.
Features of the disease
It is accepted to distinguish two types of leukoplakia, the basis of their separation is the morphological picture of pathological foci formed from cornified epithelium. So, distinguish:
- A simple type, implying the keratinization of the surface layer of the epithelium, as a result of which it becomes denser. With this form, the deep-lying layers - basal and parabasal - are not affected.
- Proliferative - differs depth of lesion, as there is a transformation of the epithelium of all layers of the mucosa with the appearance of atypical structures.
It is the proliferative form that refers to pathological conditions that are related to pre-cancer. This is due to the depth of epithelial damage and the large volume of altered cells.
What is dangerous cervical leukoplakia?
The danger of a pathological process is the high risk of malignancy. Despite the fact that at first glance the disease may seem harmless, there may be problems with conceiving a child. Often women of childbearing age are most susceptible to this ailment.
Among all the pathology with localization on the cervix, it accounts for about 5%, and in 30% of cases, malignancy of cells with altered mucosa is recorded.
In addition, it should be noted that the disease can spread to surrounding tissues, involving in the pathological process a set of external genitalia and other areas.
Fossilization of cells is also possible against the background of cicatrical changes and hypertrophy of the cervix. Clinically, it is possible to suspect an illness on the basis of itching at night, pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse.
The starting point of cancer transformation can be a decrease in immune defense, hormonal imbalance and traumatization of the mucosa during childbirth or gynecological examination.
Causes and risk factors
Quite a number of predisposing factors can provoke the transformation and consolidation of the epithelium of the cervix. This is facilitated by:
- chronic infections;
- low level of immunity;
- hormonal imbalance on the background of endocrine pathology, pregnancy;
- long-term inflammatory processes;
- traumatization of the cervical mucosa due to mechanical damage during labor or sexual intimacy.
In addition, it should be emphasized that if menstrual function is impaired, the risk of leukoplakia is also increased. Do not forget about frequent abortions, spiral contraceptives and diathermocoagulation of erosions, which violate the integrity of the mucosa and predispose to the disease.
Important to know: Cervical polyps can go to cancer?
The presence of altered areas of the mucous membrane of the cervix is diagnosed by colposcopy during medical examination. The reason for the visit to the doctor may be itching, white thick discharge or the appearance of discomfort during or after sexual intercourse.
It is practically impossible to suspect this ailment symptomatically, since the clinical signs are nonspecific and may indicate a different pathology of the organs of the reproductive system.
A woman may be troubled by white discharge, thick consistency, itching, discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse.
See also: Cervical cancer vaccination
Necessary analyzes and examinations
Diagnosis is carried out using a cytological examination of a smear taken from the cervix, or by colposcopy and histology of the biopsy material.
Thanks to colposcopy, it becomes possible to evaluate the nature and prevalence of the pathological process. Simultaneously, Schiller's test is performed by staining with Lugol's mucous solution, which helps in finding atypical cells.
Colposcopy can reveal scales or warty formations on the surface of the mucosa.
How to cure leukoplakia of the cervix?
Treatment is possible by several methods: chemical coagulation, cryodestruction, electrocoagulation, radio wave method and laser.
The cheapest method is electrocoagulation, but it affects not only altered tissues, but also healthy ones. The radio-wave method is used in nulliparous girls, since it is considered the safest.
Popular and expensive is a laser that accurately affects the affected areas at a sufficient depth. It does not leave scarring, so it is used before or after pregnancy.
Forecast and how much live with this diagnosis?
The prognosis is favorable under condition of early detection of the disease during medical examination. In this case, an effective treatment is prescribed, which avoids the progression of the disease and the appearance of complications.
To reduce the risk of leukoplakia or to prevent its re-emergence after treatment, the following recommendations should be adhered to:
- timely treatment of inflammatory pathology;
- avoid sexual infections using external contraception;
- to control the hormonal balance;
- To monitor the activity of endocrine diseases;
- not to allow frequent abortions;
- normalize the nutritional diet;
- avoid stressful situations and overwork.
In addition, it should be noted that women who have had diathermocoagulation or cryotherapy should be registered with a gynecologist and regularly undergo examinations. In this way,cervical leukoplakiacan be prevented..