Flowers of the bloodroot plant, Sanguinaria canadensis. You’re welcome, I could have used a very different image (warning: gross bordering on horrifying; click on image to see it).
Cervical dysplasia is a precancerous condition picked up by Pap smears. It is most often caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Mild cases may resolve spontaneously and can be followed by observation with frequent Pap smears, but cervical dysplasia can progress to cancer. The standard treatment is to remove the abnormal cells with a cone biopsy (using a knife) or a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) using a wire loop heated by electricity. Those procedures not only treat the disease, but they provide a pathology specimen that can be examined to rule out more serious or invasive disease. Both LEEP and cone biopsy are 85-90% effective in removing all the abnormal cells. If cancer is suspected, a cone biopsy is preferable because LEEP may damage the edges of the specimen and make it more difficult to interpret. Otherwise, LEEP is often preferred because it is less expensive and doesn’t require anesthesia or an operating room. I have discussed misguided attempts by alternative medicine practitioners to treat cervical dysplasia before.
Surgery is often perceived as scary and not “natural,” so it’s not surprising that a “natural” treatment has been devised to replace surgery. Escharotics are corrosive salves that get their name from the thick dry scab that they can produce called an eschar. The “natural” escharotic treatment alternative for cervical dysplasia involves applying a solution of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and zinc chloride. They claim that the solution selectively kills abnormal cells of the cervix while leaving healthy cells unaffected. That claim is almost certainly false, and the efficacy and safety of escharotic treatment has not been properly tested or compared to conventional treatment. (more…)
George Papanicolaou, who originated the cervical dysplasia test that bears his name (the Pap smear)
Naturopath Kate Whimster has written a case study of a patient with cervical dysplasia who was allegedly treated successfully with naturopathic treatment. She says:
In many cases conventional treatment can be invasive, ineffective, or can put patients at risk for future complications. Fortunately, there are wonderful naturopathic treatment options available both instead of or in conjunction with conventional medical treatments. This case study is a great example of naturopathic treatment for cervical dysplasia as part of my HPV Healing program.
The patient was a 32-year-old woman who first had an abnormal Pap smear at the age of 26. Here is Whimster’s report of the course of events:
- February 2012: Pap HSIL, Colposcopy CIN I, Biopsy HSIL
- April 2012: LEEP procedure
- July 2012: Pap HSIL, Colposcopy CIN I, Biopsy HSIL
- August 2012: Start of naturopathic treatment
- Nov 2012: Pap LSIL, Colposcopy normal
- May 2013: Pap LSIL, Colposcopy CIN I, Biopsy LSIL
- July 2013: Pap ASCUS, Colposcopy normal, Biopsy normal
- October 2013: Pap normal, Colposcopy “cannot rule out CIN I,” Biopsy normal
- May 2014: Pap, Colposcopy and Biopsy all normal.
She was also successfully treated for a bacterial vaginal infection. (more…)
I have some good news and some bad news about a Massachusetts naturopathy practitioner licensing bill.
First the bad news: the bill passed both the Massachusetts House and Senate in December of last year.
Now, I am certainly no expert in the arcane workings of the Massachusetts legislature, but after doing a bit of research I’ve come to wonder if the way the bill passed was entirely above board. I’ll spare you most of the details, but here’s what I found out. See if you don’t agree with me that the whole thing smells a bit fishy.