Each year in the United States, approximately 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. But it’s one part of the woman’s reproductive system that isn’t talked about as much is the cervix. Technically a part of the uterus, the cervix is the doorway through which sperm enters on its way to fertilize the egg. Since the cervix plays such an important role in the reproductive process, it’s important to maintain good cervical health. Things like lifestyle choices, weight, and stress can have an impact on your health and exacerbate existing conditions. Keeping these things in check are one step towards maintaining good cervical health.
The easiest way to keep your cervix healthy is through prevention. Acting early can save you from having to deal with a fertility-debilitating disease like cervical cancer. You can focus on prevention by having regular checkups at your ob-gyn. In order for your doctor to understand what problems could arise, you’ll need to be honest with them about your health. This means being upfront about any recent lifestyle changes. If you’ve recently started smoking, drinking, or using drugs, this could have an impact on your health. Letting your doctor know about these changes will allow them to keep an eye on your health in a more deliberate way.
Prevention also involves cutting out any harmful habits before they can have a permanent impact on your health. Smoking, stress, and a bad diet can negatively affect your health. Cutting these habits out of your life now will help you to lead a healthier life and potentially decrease your risk of developing serious health conditions that could jeopardize your fertility.
Human papillomavirus or HPV is a group of sexually transmitted diseases. They are transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact. The disease is so common that most men and women will contract the disease at one point or another in their lifetime. Since the disease often doesn’t show any visible symptoms, it is easy for someone to think they’re not infected and accidentally pass it on.
In most cases, HPV will resolve itself on its own. When it doesn’t go away on its own it can lead to health conditions like genital warts and cancer. A healthcare will usually be able to diagnose genital warts with a quick visual examination.
Since it can take 15 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop from HPV, you may not experience the symptoms of cervical cancer for some time. Precancerous cell changes and early stages of cervical cancer can be detected through regular pap smears and screenings. That is why regular checkups with your ob-gyn are so important.
After treatment for cervical cancer, it can be difficult to conceive. Treatment for cervical cancer varies by stage and type; treatment options in early stages can be decided upon to maintain fertility. Later stages of cervical cancer can include a hysterectomy or chemoradiotherapy which can prevent the ovaries from working rendering you infertile. It’s best to consult with your doctor before making a decision that can permanently alter your fertility.
Keeping your cervix healthy is important if you want to conceive. Be honest with your doctor at your yearly exam and pap smear to keep them up to date on your latest lifestyle changes. This will help your doctor stay on top of your health.
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