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Lower Genital Tract Infection

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Introduction

A lower genital tract is the lower portion of the female reproductive system that consists of the cervix, vulva, and vagina.  Lower Genital Tract Infection is an infection arising from abnormal growth of cells on the cervical surface.

Cervical dysplasia has been found in 11.9% of the study population. Low-risk cervical dysplasia can give rise to genital warts, and high-risk cervical dysplasia can cause abnormal cell growth developing into cancer. Dysplasia can occur at any age; however, women between the age of 35 to 45 have a higher risk of dysplasia.

It is therefore essential to create awareness about Lower Genital Tract Dysplasia, to take necessary actions for prevention. In this way, women can take care of their vaginal health to prevent any hazards.

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What is Cervical Dysplasia?

The cervix is an opening between the vagina and the uterus. The abnormal cell changes are known as precancerous lesions. Cervical dysplasia is an abnormal change and growth of cancerous cells lining the cervix. Cervical dysplasia can occur as mild or moderate to severe depending on the extent of abnormal cells appearing. Pap test reports as low-grade to high-grade intraepithelial lesions or as atypical squamous or glandular cells. Dysplasia disappears on its own or seldom develops into cancer.

What are the Causes of Lower Genital Tract Dysplasia?

Cervical dysplasia is caused by the Human papillomavirus, which has varied strains. Sexual transmission causes the spread of the virus.

If you experience any of these, it could be Lower Genital Tract Dysplasia:

  • ● Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • ● Vaginal discharge that is abnormal with the foul odor
  • ● Vaginal discharge amidst menstruation
  • ● Vaginal bleeding occurring after intercourse
  • ● Pain in the vaginal region during intercourse
  • ● Pain in the pelvic region

What are the Symptoms of Cervical Dysplasia?

  • ● Vulvar itching
  • ● The skin surrounding the vulva changing its color
  • ● The vulva or the skin of the vulva affected by cancers
  • ● Vulvar skin growth looking like a wart

How is Lower Genital Tract Infections Diagnosed?

A pap smear test report can show a squamous intraepithelial lesion. A magnifying instrument like a colposcopy examines the vagina, vulva, and cervix. The abnormal cells are detected by applying vinegar to the cervix highlighting the abnormal cells with a special light. Your doctor uses colposcopy to identify the growth of abnormal cells and the range of abnormality. Intraepithelial neoplasia can be of grade CIN I, II, III.

How is Lower Genital Tract Infection Treated?

Lower Genital Tract Dysplasia does not need any specific treatment. However, in the case of high-risk cancerous cells growing in the cervix, specific procedures or surgery may help remove them. When it is non-cancerous, it disappears on its own. Your doctor will advise a pap smear and HPV tests for identifying the growth of abnormal cells and also for the recurrence.

Treatment includes removal of the area affected in dysplasia in case of high severity. The two procedures involved in removing the affected area are loop electrosurgical excision procedure and cold knife conization.

In loop electrosurgical excision procedure, the physician asks you to lie down on an examination table with your feet stirrups. The physician examines the vaginal walls and your cervix through an instrument called a speculum. Anesthesia is used to numb the cervix. The doctor inserts an electrically charged loop made of thin wire into the vagina up to the cervix. The loop passes across your cervix removing the area affected by dysplasia.

A cone-shaped portion of the cervix is removed using a scalpel by cold knife conization that is a minor surgical procedure.

  • Medication: The topical application of medicine to your vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia and the medication is continued for several weeks.
  • Surgical excision: Surgical excision is a procedure where the vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia is removed along with normal tissue.
  • Radiation: In the case of high-risk intraepithelial neoplasia, radiation destroys abnormal cells.
  • Vulvar Dysplasia: Vulvar dysplasia is also known as vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia, an abnormal change in the skin surrounding the vulva, which is an opening out of the vagina.

What are the Risks Associated with Lower Genital Tract Infections treatments?

  • ● Human papillomavirus infection
  • ● Sexual history
  • ● Smoking
  • ● A suppressed immune system
  • ● Sexually transmitted diseases that are different
  • ● Lack of screening tests
  • ● Aging

Results

The risk factors may aggravate the growth of abnormal cells. Hence removing these would provide relief and restore your vaginal health. Genital warts may not require the surgery, but if it is severe, it may require surgery.  The tissue removed will be sent to the lab for further testing. The doctors will instruct when to return to repeat the tests as you may need more pap smear tests.

Risk on surgery

Risks associated with surgery are minimal with the removal of abnormal growth of the cells.

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FAQ's

How to Prevent the Occurrence of Lower Genital Tract Infections?

Bacteria, fungi, and viruses cause genital tract infections. It can occur even when one sexual partner is infected with the disease. Using condoms can minimize infections; however, some of the Lower Genital Tract Infections can occur without having sex. To prevent the area from being affected, adopt hygienic practices to prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms.

How Can you Lower your Chances of Getting Cervical Cancer?

Vaccination of HPV
In women, the HPV vaccine prevents the occurrence of vaginal, vulvar, and cervical cancers. Furthermore, protects the anus, mouth, and throat from getting affected.
In men, it prevents cancer occurrence in the mouth, throat, anus, and penis.

What is the Difference Between the Pap Test and the Pelvic Exam?

The physician can examine reproductive organs through the pelvic exam to detect diseases; with the pap test, the pap smear is sent to the laboratory to examine the abnormal cell growth. These tests help in detecting Lower Genital Tract Dysplasia.

How do you Prevent Cervical Cancer from Recurring?

Adopt healthy choices:

  • ● Preventive measures like using condoms
  • ● Refrain from smoking

How can you Lower your Chances of Cervical Screening?

  • ● Refrain from having multiple sexual partners
  • ● Refrain from using any immunosuppressants

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