At Born Clinic, routine pelvic examinations and PAP smears are generally accompanied by a colposcopic examination (at no extra charge).
A colposcope is a magnifying unit with a built-in light source that provides the physician with a microscopic view of the living tissue of the cervix (as opposed to slides of dead tissue). Using the colposcope, the physician can identify and examine suspicious looking areas of the cervix and can make sure that cells from these specific areas are scraped off for the PAP smear evaluation.
The traditional PAP smear technique in which the physician just makes a general “swipe” of the cervix, fails in approximately 15 to 20 percent of the cases to identify precancerous lesions of the cervix (dysplasia). Colposcopy, when used in conjunction with the PAP smear and directed biopsy, can detect almost all cases of dysplasia, carcinoma in situ, and invasive carcinoma.
All of our colposcopes are equipped with a 35mm camera to provide a permanent record of abnormal areas for follow-up and future evaluation.
Many women who have been told they have a grade 2, 3, 4 or 5 PAP smear would like a second opinion regarding the diagnosis and severity of their problem. A colposcopic examination is particularly valuable for this purpose.
Often, a colposcopic examination of the cervix reveals “dysplasia.” A dysplasia of the cervix is simply an area of abnormal cells which are not cancerous but have the potential to become malignant.
In an important study of dysplasia, Dr. Ralph Richart of Columbia University followed 520 women with dysplasia for six years. He observed progression from dysplasia (precancerous condition) to carcinoma in situ (localized cancer) in 25 percent of the cases. He states, “The average age of women with dysplasia is 24 years of age and the average age of women with carcinomas in situ confined to the cervix is 32 years of age.”
Obviously, good preventive health care dictates that precancerous lesions on the cervix (dysplasia) need to be identified and removed at an early age.
A good analogy can be made to warts and moles. Most people keep a close watch on warts and moles and consult a physician if they note any change because they know that such growths are potentially malignant, and dysplasia of the cervix presents a similar situation. Although you can’t see dysplasia with your naked eye, these areas of abnormal cells on the cervix are just as obvious to the physician through the colposcope as a wart or mole on your skin. These areas can easily be removed in the office using the colposcope to ensure that the entire pre-cancerous area is destroyed.
At Born Clinic, a laser is used for the removal of dysplasias and other lesions of the cervix and vaginal wall. This modern, virtually painless technique is the “treatment of choice” for such conditions and produces superior results with a minimal amount of scarring.
Laser Surgery (Precancerous lesions on cervix, genital warts, HPV)
A laser beam is simply ordinary light coordinated into a single frequency and thereby made potent and controllable. Many different substances can be used to generate laser light.
Laser light is readily absorbed by any substance containing water, and since living cells are about 80 percent water, they are easily removed or eliminated by “zapping” them with the laser. What this really means is that when the laser is beamed at the unwanted cells, they absorb so much of the laser’s energy that they simply vaporize, effectively disappearing into a puff of steam!
The great advantage of laser surgery is that the physician has complete control over what is removed and can literally vaporize unwanted tissue one cell layer at a time, thus preserving the healthy tissue all around the area being removed.
As tissue is vaporized, blood vessels are sealed off by the laser so excessive bleeding is not a problem. Pain, scarring, and discomfort are minimal.
Besides being used to remove lesions of the cervix, Born Clinic also uses laser surgery to treat:
- Vaginal lesions related to DES (pre-cancerous vaginal changes that are often present in women whose mothers took the drug diethylstilbestrol [DES] during pregnancy).
- Genital Warts
Go to our Laser Surgery Page for additional information on our Laser Surgery services.
Yeast infections (candida), trichomonas, cervical erosions (caused from childbirth, etc.), an imbalance of normal vaginal flora, and other pelvic conditions can all cause annoying and unnecessary discharge and odor.
What is most important here is to identify the cause and not just treat the symptoms. We use a colposcopic examination, in addition to laboratory testing, to correctly diagnose the cause of vaginal discharge so that specific, appropriate treatment can be instituted (medical treatment, laser therapy, etc.).
Estrogen Replacement Therapy using Bio-Identical (plant-based) Hormones
Estrogen replacement therapy can be attempted by pills, suppositories, injection, or implants. Using pills, it is questionable how much estrogen actually gets into the bloodstream since much is believed to be inactivated or “lost” in the digestive process. Topical preparations are useful for the specific problem of vaginal dryness and atrophy.
Born Clinic doctors often use implants as the preferred method of estrogen replacement therapy for those who have had a hysterectomy. Two small estrogen pellets are placed under the skin of the abdomen to provide long-term hormone replacement. Implants are repeated at intervals determined by individual requirements.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is any combination of emotional and/or physical symptoms that occur cyclically before menstruation and regress or disappear during or shortly after menstruation begins.
Symptoms may include behavioral, emotional, and appetite changes as well as headaches, stomach upsets, and fatigue. Studies have indicated that as many as 30 to 40 percent of women in their reproductive years may suffer PMS symptoms severe enough to disrupt their lifestyle.
At Born Clinic, we have found that just reassuring victims of PMS that it is not “all in their heads” is the first step toward successful treatment. Since PMS sufferers are often found to have Vitamin B and other deficiencies, nutritional supplements may be prescribed, and because alternation of the estrogen / progesterone ratio contributes to PMS problems, hormone therapy is often instituted. These approaches, in addition to others which might be called for under individual circumstances, usually allow women to avoid the monthly disruption of their lives that PMS has caused.