Things To Consider About Cervical Health


Most women do not think about cervical health unless they are visiting the gynecologist for an annual
health checkup. However, cervical health is essential and food, contraception choices and other lifestyle
factors can impact the health of the cervix significantly. Healthcare experts in our free women’s clinic
share some important things that you need to consider about cervical health.

Human Papillomavirus Awareness

HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection and if you are a sexually active person, you need to
increase your awareness about HPV infection. The infection spread from intimate skin-to-skin contact,
meaning that sexual intercourse is not a must to transmit it. Unfortunately, using condoms will not
completely prevent exposure to the virus.
There are about 200 types of HPV, but about fourteen types can lead to serious health issues, like
changes to cells in the cervical region. As per the experts in our low income health clinic, two specific
types of viruses are responsible for about seventy percent of all cases of unhealthy cervical cells. HPV
vaccines were made available in the US in 2006 and can offer protection against four strains of the virus.
You need to discuss with your healthcare provider if you haven’t had the HPV vaccine and would like to
find out if it might be right for you.
Apart from regular gynecological visits, the following lifestyle habits can help optimize cervical health.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking can increase your risk of human papillomavirus infection and unhealthy cell development
which may lead to cervical cancer. If you have the habit of smoking, quitting is the key step that you can
take to ensure your health and quality of life. The use of tobacco can suppress your immune system,
making it difficult for your body to fight HPV.

Exercise Regularly

Ensuring daily physical activity is an important thing that you can do to ensure your health. Apart from
the well-known benefits of exercise like bone and heart health, regular physical activity can also ensure
a healthy immune system. Exercise for at least thirty minutes daily and find activities that you enjoy, like
cycling, hiking, dancing or swimming.

Use Of Oral Contraceptive

Studies show that the risk for unhealthy development of cervical cells is higher among women with HPV
and use oral contraceptives for a long time(5 to 9 years). Changes in cervical cells among users of oral
contraceptives are three times more than in women who never used oral contraceptives.

Reduce Alcohol Use

Many studies suggest that there can be a link between alcohol use and HPV owing to its effects on the
level of folate. Folate helps make and repair DNA. Therefore, it is important to maintain healthy levels of
folate to support the overall health of cells. Even moderate consumption of alcohol can reduce the level
of folate. So, cut down your alcohol consumption to ensure cervical health.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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