During female wellness exams, cell samples from the cervix and vagina are obtained to see if any of these cells have changed and are pre-cancerous or cancerous. This is called a Pap smear. At the same time, practitioners can check for the presence of certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) such as 18 and 16. If these strains are present, the female is at a greater risk for cervical cancer. Depending on the level of cell change and the presence of certain HPV strains, to obtain tissue biopsies, a colposcopy may then be performed.
Both the cell state and the presence of certain strains of HPV are also analyzed to see which forms of treatment will be implemented. This can range from watchful waiting (performing another Pap smear with HPV in a certain time frame), a LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure), or cryotherapy (using cold to remove abnormal tissue). Having a LEEP performed on the cervix to remove abnormal tissue can at times carry a risk of a preterm birth in future pregnancies.
Naturopathic physicians are trained to perform an alternative technique to remove abnormal tissue called escharotic treatment. An escharotic* is a substance that corrodes tissue to form an eschar*, a scab. Rather than burning or freezing off tissue, we use corrosive agents that are a mixture of botanicals, enzymes, and zinc chloride as well as healing agents which are vitamins and botanicals that come in direct contact with the tissue. We will also have the patient take a variety of systemic, oral supplements to assist the body in healing as well as eradicating the HPV strain(s) infecting their body. Depending on the complexity of the cellular change, Naturopathic Medical Doctors may need to only prescribe certain vaginal suppositories and systemic support rather than escharotics treatment.
There are certain levels of cellular change that cannot be treated by escharotics, in which case the patient needs to be referred to a gynecologist (M.D. or D.O.) for treatment.
It is essential to understand all treatment options including the naturopathic medical approach, and escharotics are an effective, minimally invasive alternative in female health and abnormal Pap smears.
If you are looking for a naturopathic approach to female exams and women’s medicine, contact the Naturopathic Medicine Doctors at Human Health Specialists. They are expects in the field of women’s medicine.