Table of contents:
- Signs of cervical hyperkeratosis
- Causes of pathology
- Hyperkeratosis of the cervix during pregnancy
- Diagnosis of hyperkeratosis
- How to treat cervical hyperkeratosis
2023 Author: Alfred Shackley | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 13:14
One of the most dangerous diseases of a woman's reproductive organs is cervical hyperkeratosis. Despite the fact that this pathology does not cause painful symptoms and discomfort, it is a preliminary stage of an oncological neoplasm.
A regular examination by a gynecologist, who is recommended to undergo at least 2 times a year, allows detecting a problem and starting treatment in a timely manner.
Signs of cervical hyperkeratosis
Hyperkeratosis is a pathological thickening of the stratum corneum of the epithelium. It occurs in the form of foci of white plaques on the cervical mucosa. Another name for the disease is leukoplakia.
In a normal state, the mucous membrane has an even pink color and a smooth structure. As a result of frequent inflammatory processes, the layers of the epithelium become thickened, and keratinization occurs in places.
Dangerous pathology proceeds without pronounced symptoms, it is often detected in a neglected form. The consequence of leukoplakia in 30% of cases is degeneration into oncology.
The disease affects women of childbearing age, previously there were patients at risk for 40 years, recently it has been observed in young girls. Initially, hyperkeratosis of the squamous epithelium of the cervix is noticed by the doctor when examined with a special mirror, but a detailed colposcopy and a series of tests will be required to establish a diagnosis.
There are two types of pathology:
- Simple focal hyperkeratosis of the cervix - a weak stage that covers a small area of the mucous membrane, is considered safe. Keratinization affects only the upper layer of the epithelium.
- Diskeratosis or polyferative hyperkeratosis is a chaotic growth of the epithelial layer, which goes deep into the mucous membrane. A change in the structure of tissues leads to the appearance of neoplasms. It is classified as a precancerous condition.
Depending on the factors accompanying leukoplakia, the following symptoms may appear:
- itching and burning in the genitals caused by fungal pathology;
- change in the color and smell of discharge in the presence of a bacterial infection;
- Experts consider slight bleeding after sexual intercourse to be an indirect confirmation of leukoplaxia.
Causes of pathology
The list of reasons leading to changes in the epithelium includes various diseases. However, it is not always possible to establish the exact factor that triggers the process of keratinization of the layers. The main causes of pathology include:
- Local damage to the mucous membrane arising from medical procedures (termination of pregnancy, hysteroscopy).
- Endocrine disorders - malfunctions of the thyroid gland and adrenal glands.
- Past infectious and inflammatory diseases: papillomavirus, chlamydia, endometritis, vaginal candidiasis, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and others. Treatment of squamous squamous epithelium includes therapy for concomitant ailments.
- Malignant tumor (cervical cancer).
- Significant weakening of immunity, signs of chronic fatigue, loss of strength, weak reaction to inflammatory factors.
- Failure of the menstrual cycle can cause abnormal growth of the epithelium.
- Frequent partner changes and early onset of sexual activity are also considered as possible causes of leukoplakia.
Pathology is one of the most common problems in women of mature age. This trend is associated with age-related changes in the hormonal background and the natural microflora of the vagina.
A high probability of cell degeneration is noted when hyperkeratosis affects the tissues of the basal layer of the epithelium. Leukoplakia may not be limited to the cervix, foci of the disease spread to the cervical canal, vaginal mucosa.
Hyperkeratosis of the cervix during pregnancy
While carrying a child, a woman monitors her health with particular care, because she is responsible for two lives at once. With a routine examination, the gynecologist can identify changes and lesions of the cervical epithelium.
- Only an experienced specialist can determine the degree of danger based on the results of a smear study. With small foci of problems, a woman should not worry about her condition. Pregnancy and childbirth will go smoothly, and treatment will be postponed until the postpartum period.
- If hyperkeratosis is detected in preparation for pregnancy, then treatment cannot be postponed. Changes in the hormonal background that occur during the development of a child in a woman's body are factors that provoke the growth of oncological neoplasms.
- Treatment of the disease does not affect conception, if it is detected in the early stages, then the consequences for a woman's health are minimal. She will get pregnant without any problems and bear a healthy child.
Diagnosis of hyperkeratosis
The gynecologist notices the initial signs in the form of one or more voluminous white spots on the mucous membrane of the cervix with the help of a mirror. They are clearly distinguishable on healthy and inflamed epithelium. But the doctor can prescribe treatment only after a comprehensive examination.
To confirm the assumption of the presence of leukoplaxia, a colposcopy procedure is performed. It is simple and will bring a minimum of discomfort. Before examination using a special colposcope apparatus, an aqueous solution of iodine is applied to the cervix. The substance stains healthy cells, and the altered epithelium remains white. If foci of pathological tissue transformations are found, the doctor takes a piece of mucous membrane for analysis or performs scraping.
After determining the main symptom - the presence of affected areas. The gynecologist prescribes additional research in order to choose a treatment:
preparation of anamnesis, including information about past illnesses, childbirth, abortion;
- a blood test for hormones;
- cytological examination of tissues;
- Ultrasound of the pelvic organs;
- microscopic examination and bacteriological seeding of secretions;
- radiography - to determine concomitant pathologies.
Cytological analysis is always prescribed if there is a suspicion of cervical hyperkeratosis, but due to keratinization, cells of the underlying layers of the epithelium may not get into it. In this case, a histological examination is performed, allowing to consider the thickening of the epithelial cover and the depth of penetration of the pathology.
How to treat cervical hyperkeratosis
The choice of therapy depends on the form of the identified pathology, and treatment is also aimed at eliminating concomitant diseases. After determining the factors that caused the pathology, one of the types of therapy is prescribed:
Treatment of leukoplakia is carried out in several ways, they are selected by a gynecologist, depending on the degree of mucosal lesion:
- Cryodestruction - directed freezing of the affected area. This is one of the most common treatments. It is popular due to its painlessness, minimal complications, and the absence of scar formations that cause difficulties in conception. With all the advantages available, the treatment is not without complications for the woman's body. The procedure can shorten the cervix, making it difficult to conceive. During the healing of the mucous membrane, the discharge becomes excessively abundant, which gives the woman discomfort.
- Laser vaporization is the essence of treatment in the destruction of pathological cells by burning with a laser beam. At the same time, healthy tissue does not suffer, relapses are excluded, and a recovery period is not required. The use of the laser does not leave scars, the growth of a new healthy epithelium is observed one month after the procedure.
- Chemical coagulation is a minimally invasive intervention based on a drug effect on leukoplakia foci. The chemical is harmful to the affected cells, but affects healthy tissue.
- Electrocoagulation is a traditional treatment for cervical hyperkeratosis. This is one of the most traumatic methods, moxibustion also touches healthy tissue. The healing process is long and painful, accompanied by bleeding. The procedure is not recommended for girls planning a pregnancy; after electrocautery, rough scars remain.
- Radio wave destruction is a non-contact operation in which altered tissues are heated and removed by radio waves. The treatment does not cause pain, minimally damages the surrounding cells.
All of these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. Patients are advised to abstain from sexual activity, strict hygiene of the genitals, hot baths are prohibited.
Relapses of cervical hyperkeratosis are not excluded, therefore, women who have had this disease should regularly visit a gynecologist for a routine examination.
Hyperkeratosis of the cervix is scary, because pathology with atypical degeneration of cells threatens a woman's life. Simple recommendations that gynecologists give to their patients will help prevent the appearance of an insidious disease:
- wear underwear made of natural fabric;
- use a hygiene product that does not dry the skin;
- limit the use of alcohol, spicy and salty foods;
- timely treatment of erosion and inflammatory processes;
- observation by a gynecologist and adherence to his recommendations.