According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cervical cancer is among of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women. In this article, we will explain the importance of taking excellent care of the cervix, how to do it, and what factors aggravate the organ.
Let’s begin by learning one of the most amazing functions of the cervix, followed by a thorough guide on how to care for it — including preventative measures and your nutrition.
The Gateway to Fertility
The cervix is the short, cylindrical part of the uterus connecting to a woman’s vagina. Depending on hormonal levels, the cervix changes in shape and texture.
It is of utmost importance to be proactive in taking care of one’s cervical health, primarily because the cervix retains and protects the rest of the female reproductive system. It acts as the gateway to the uterus and, thus, fertility. As the cervix changes shape and texture in response to hormone levels, it also changes the type of fluid it produces to allow or prevent sperm from passing through. This is a critical function of fertility, one that we barely notice unless we are charting the signs every day.
The cervix is soft and open in the days leading up to ovulation. This allows sperm to pass through with ease. For a few days before a female ovulates and on the day of ovulation, the cervix also produces a type of clear, stretchy, and lubricative cervical fluid due to high estrogen and low progesterone levels. When examined under a microscope, this fertile type of cervical fluid appears as elongated channels, and sperm can easily swim through and live in these channels for several days.
This amazing function of the cervix should be more than enough reason to take excellent care of it, especially if you as a woman, or a man happily married to your wife — wish to expand your family.
Prevention and Cervical Cancer
True prevention consists of eradicating or reducing harmful factors for the body’s natural defenses to function. Pap Smear tests, in particular, are a screening test and not a type of prevention. These tests only show us that an abnormal process has already begun.
Getting a Pap test can significantly help in determining the state of a woman’s uterus, as well as detect abnormalities and rectify the situation before it’s too late. If the cancer is detected in its later stages, it will be far more difficult to cure.
Factors to Consider for Prevention
There are several factors that can affect a woman’s overall health, as well as the cervix. These include:
- Lifecycle changes
- Immune system
- Smoking and secondhand smoke
To give you a better understanding of how these factors correlate to a woman’s cervix and overall health, let’s discuss each bullet.
Lifecycle and the Cervix
The cervical cells are at their most vulnerable during puberty, first pregnancy, and a few weeks following the birth of a child. During these stages, the cervix is more prone to abnormal cell growth.
During a Pap test, the medical practitioner takes sample cells from the squamocolumnar junction or the area on the cervix where the cells from the vagina meet other cells from the uterus. Usually, the junction is up towards the uterus and the cells are protected. During more vulnerable times, the junction extends itself further out into the vagina, making the cells more susceptible to changes and carcinogens. This sensitive area is also exposed in many younger women, especially during their teenage years.
The Immune System and the Cervix
Having and maintaining a healthy immune system significantly contributes to the body’s ability to clear HPV naturally from the body. Take good care of yourself by getting enough sleep and eating well. It’s also highly recommended to regularly check with a health practitioner for suggestions on how to boost your immune system, as well as seek prescription of supplements and vitamins.
Your immune system can be especially weak if you have HIV or AIDS; use steroids and corticosteroids; suffer chronic fatigue syndrome; had an organ transplant or dialysis and had chemotherapy.
Smoking and Cervical Cancer
Several studies prove that smoking is linked to the development of cervical cancer. Women who smoke, whether heavily or occasionally, especially when suffering from HPV — are much more likely than non-smokers to develop abnormal and cancerous changes in the cervix. Former smokers are also more likely to experience unusual changes in the cervix, too. Second-hand smoke is also a concern.
If you are stressed and relying on nicotine for relief, try to cut down on your intake and consider other strategies to deal with stress.
Stress and Pap Smear Results
Stress is often unavoidable due to several factors associated with our daily routines. There are times when stress levels are elevated to the point where some women get abnormal Pap results after significant and adverse life events.
Maintaining a positive outlook in life is not always easy, but there are several ways to deal with stress, which include talking with friends or family, exercising, learning relaxation techniques, and doing something enjoyable.
Diet and the Cervix
Eating nutritiously can do wonders for the body, but it is especially important during times of high stress. Some foods contain vitamins that are excellent for nourishing the cervix and our immune system. These include:
- Beta-carotene: Carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupes, and winter squash
- Folic acid: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, okras, avocados, beans, and peas
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, strawberries, papayas, kiwis, and guavas
- Vitamin E: Almonds, sunflower seeds, butternut squash
- Lycopene: Sun-dried tomatoes and pink grapefruits
The Role of Vitamins
The health benefits of vitamins include the profound ability to prevent various diseases. The majority of vitamins facilitate many of the body’s mechanisms by helping perform functions that cannot be done by any other nutrients. It’s always best to get vitamins from the food you eat. If you have an abnormal Pap result, you should consider taking extra vitamins prescribed by your doctor.
Choose New Hope as Your Ally Against Cervical Cancer
New Hope is one of the leading organizations that provide alternative treatments to cancer. We strive to improve each patient’s quality of life and address the cause of their disease. Our holistic treatment plans are not only designed to cure chronic degenerative diseases, but also to strengthen the body’s natural defense systems. Call us today at 480-757-6573 to know more.