Human Papillomavirus and Fertility
Feb 26, 2020 11:47AM
By Shannon McKenzie
For women wanting to become pregnant, the health of the cervix is vital. Sperm travel by way of cervical mucus through the cervix, into the uterus to the fallopian tubes for conception. Human papillomavirus (HPV) itself does not directly affect fertility, but does increase the risk of developing precancerous or cancerous cells, which could reduce the likelihood of conception or carrying a pregnancy to term.
Many young females have a normal pap test, but test positive for HPV. When the results show mild, changes of undetermined significance or even low-grade cervical abnormalities, with no HPV present, or HPV with no cervical abnormalities, a wait and watch approach for a year is typically recommended. Retesting is done in a year. Waiting and watching may sound good for some, but studies have shown that even mild abnormalities on pap and HPV testing can be severely anxiety-provoking and interfere with a woman's quality of life.
There is something they can do to support immunity and cervical health. HPV and cervical changes can be messengers telling us that there is a disruption in the health of the vaginal microbiome, nutritional deficiencies, or chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Rather than simply waiting, watching and retesting, a natural approach can be used to restore optimal health to the vaginal and cervical ecosystem that encourages the clearance of HPV and help reduce cervical cancer risk.
The root causes that can contribute to cervical cellular changes and susceptibility to HPV include a Western or nutrient-depleted diet (the Standard American Diet), inflammation, impaired detoxification and disrupted microbiome health.
Phytonutrient levels of folate, vitamin A, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 have been found to be low in women with cervical cancer. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress may result in higher concentrations of HPV at the cervix. Cigarette smokers have a significantly higher risk of cervical cancer. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress can cause cell damage and increase the risk of cancer. Vaginal microbiome lactobacillus is protective. Bacterial vaginosis (vaginal microbiome dysbiosis) is associated with reduced variety and amounts of lactobacillus species.
A comprehensive plan includes attention to diet, sleep, stress management, gut health and environmental exposure. A healthy cervix means a healthy biome for fertility.
The office of Dr. Megan Ding, ND. is located at 10722 Carmel Commons Blvd., Ste. 450, in Charlotte. For appointments and more information, call 704-543-5540 or visit DrMeganDing.com.