As wonderful as universal screening and early detection of cervical cancer is, prevention should ultimately be the goal.
So, how can a woman proceed to lower her risk of getting cervical cancer or pre cancer?
A woman can develop and maintain a robustly healthy immune system and a healthy vaginal microbiome so that should she be exposed to HPV, she can fend it off entirely. Should she actually become infected — regardless of the strain — her immune system is then best poised to clear it naturally.
To stay healthy, I recommend the following:
- Adopt a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and legumes. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for an optimal immune system, which is boosted by healthy fiber and polyphenols from vegetables. Green leafy vegetables provide folate, which is essential for proper detoxification and DNA maintenance. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and arugula also offer several health benefits and are key to estrogen detoxification.
- Read labels on all lubricants and don’t use any that contain strange chemicals. Simple organic aloe vera is an excellent choice.
- Use condoms in all at-risk situations. Condoms can greatly reduce (but not eliminate) the risk of transmitting HPV.
- Get your Vitamin D! Taking supplements of vitamin D and folate can help prevent abnormal cervical cells.
- Consider taking supplements. I usually suggest to my patients a full Vitamin B complex. The potent antioxidant vitamin A, taken blended with carotenoids, is also an excellent supplement. Taking DIM or sulfurophane, both derived from broccoli, helps the body properly detoxify and eliminate estrogen and xenoestrogens.
- Buy organic tampons or use a menstrual cup to further avoid toxic exposures.
- Detox! Proper detoxification and elimination of estrogen plays a role in cervical cancer prevention. Taking a green tea supplement or (better yet) drinking green tea regularly is a great anti-cancer habit.
Practicing the healthiest of lifestyles, eating the best diet, avoidance of chemicals in food and vaginal products, exercising, controlling stress, and taking select supplements may all lower your risk of getting cervical cancer.
I salute you and your pursuit of vaginal and cervical health!
Felice Gersh, MD, is a multi-award-winning, board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and the founder of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine in California. Felice was educated at Princeton University and USC and has more than 40 years of experience in all matters relating to women’s health. Her main area of expertise is hormonal management and, specifically, polycystic ovary syndrome. Felice is a prolific lecturer, writer, podcaster, and broadcaster on ZubiaLive and is soon to finish her first book. You can follow her blog and connect with her on Twitter.