Natural Treatment for HPV

Natural Treatment for HPV

The term dysplasia refers to abnormal cells that are not cancerous but have the potential to become cancerous. Cervical dysplasia is a precancerous lesion of the cervix. The risk factors for cervical dysplasia are the same as for cervical cancer with the most significant risk factor being exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV).

There are many strains of HPV; most are symptomless except for a few strains that can cause warts.

It can be quite scary receiving the results of a smear test to discover that you have HPV, but there are things you can do.

As the body’s immune system can clear mild cervical dysplasia and HPV, one option is waiting for your follow up smear test to see if you are then clear. However, there is a low risk that by your next smear test those changes haven’t reverted to normal or worse could have progressed. 

Maybe you don’t want to wait, or maybe you have chronic HPV or maybe you have cervical changes and want to address these proactively.  You can start by reviewing your nutrition to tackle any deficiencies and by using herbs that are anti-viral, boost the immune system and help the body cope stress.

Nutritional requirements

Folate

Folate is a B vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Low folate levels have been implicated in many cases of cervical dysplasia.  Low folate levels also appear to be a major risk factor for HPV infection and persistent HPV infection.

B12 deficiency always needs to be considered alongside folate deficiency.

Folate Rich Foods

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Liver

B12 Foods

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products 
  • Brewers yeast
  • Nutritional yeast

Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene

Vitamin A appears to have an important impact on cervical health and the development of cervical cancer. The body converts beta-carotene in to Vitamin A.  There is a strong inverse relationship between dietary beta-carotene intake and the risk of cervical cancer or cervical dysplasia. Studies do not support the same results with supplemented beta-carotene.

Yellow, orange and red fruit and vegetables tend to be high in beta-carotene

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potato
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Squash (the vegetable, not juice J)

Selenium

Selenium levels in the diet and blood have been reported to be significantly lower in patients with cervical dysplasia. Selenium is an important mineral in protecting the body from oxidative stress and other harmful substances.

Selenium rich foods include:

  • Brazil nuts  (one of the best sources)
  • Tuna    
  • Halibut
  • Sardines
  • Shrimp
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Cottage cheese
  • Rice

Curcumin

Curcumin is the key active ingredient in turmeric.  Curcumin has been shown to have anticancer properties and cause regression of premalignant lesions in several tissues including the cervix. Several studies have demonstrated that curcumin treatment alters HPV-associated molecular pathways in cancer cells and suppresses cervical cancer growth. Curcumin is also very anti-inflammatory.

Add fresh or powdered turmeric to food, smoothies and drinks.

Inflammation & Oxidative Stress

Inflammation in the body is linked to numerous health issues.  Things that increase inflammation are a diet high in refined sugar and carbohydrates, processed foods, too much meat, too little fruit and vegetables, low nutrient intake, exposure to environmental toxins, chronic stress and too little sleep. 

Oxidative stress causes an imbalance of free radicals compared to antioxidants in the body, cell and tissue damage can occur. Inflammation and oxidative stress can alter cervical cell health.

To reduce oxidative stress and inflammation eliminate the following from your diet:

  • Refined sugar and carbohydrates
  • Processed foods

Increase Intake of Colourful Fruit and Vegetables

How to get 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables daily

  • Green vegetable smoothie
  • Bowl of berries
  • Salad full of leafy greens, beetroot, carrots, colourful peppers, 
  • Sweet potato, a side of broccoli and asparagus
  • Soups and stews bursting with vegetables

The Vaginal Microbiome

The vaginal microbiome is unique, complex, and made up of numerous species of bacteria. One of these species that is consistently associated with good vaginal health is Lactobacillus. To help encourage Lactobacillus growths in the vagina include foods that contain it such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut

Stress and Immunity

Stress can depress the immune system and contribute towards inflammation.  It is important to reduce stress though lifestyle changes and self-care practices.

Herbs

Adaptogenic herbs calm and nourish the adrenal glands and support processes that are controlled by the adrenal glands e.g. blood sugar, immune system regulation, and hormones. Examples of adapotgens are Holy basil, Rhodiola and Turkey tail.

There are also many herbs that are anti-viral and very effective on HPV and also help to boost the immune system such as Echinacea, Calendula and Lemon balm.

Extra Help

It is always good to speak to an experienced herbalist who can advise you on the right herbs for your individual needs. A herbalist may choose herbs that support the digestive system so that nutrients are properly extracted from food and absorbed by the body, herbs that help the body to cope with stress and herbs that support the immune system in clearing the HPV virus.

In some cases dietary changes are not enough to get adequate nutrients so nutritional supplementation may be required.  It is important that any supplements are good quality and that the body is able to absorb them.

Any protocol will need to be followed by at least 3 – 12 months.

For a personalized and more thorough approach to dealing with HPV or cervical dysplasia please feel free to book a consultation with me.

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