Women aged 18-40 years should regularly, every six months, visit a gynecologist and take a smear for cytology. This is intended to assess the condition of the cells of the tissues of the flat epithelium - the layer lining the vagina and cervix. The squamous epithelium in the smear gives an idea of how successfully this tissue copes with its role of a shield for important female organs.
What is the essence of the analysis?
The epithelium is a layer that protects the tissues of the body cavities and mucous membranes. The analysis of the flat epithelium of the cervix is able to show the initial stage of development of cancer, as well as possible causes of infertility. Smear is taken from the outer throat with a curved spatula. The fact is that cancer cells begin to form from below and gradually move upward. Therefore, a deep sampling of cytological material will result only in the case of an already running disease.
In a smear, stratified squamous epithelium shows the ratio of the types of cells from which it consists, namely:
- surface cells;
- basal parabasal.
The balance of these cells is determined by the phase of the menstrual cycle. Therefore, for the most accurate conclusions, it is recommended to take an analysis on the 5-7 day of the cycle. The cells of the squamous epithelium of women in reproductive age are completely replaced by new ones every 4-5 days.
Hyperkeratosis has no external signs, so the woman does not know about him before going to the gynecologist and obtaining data on a smear on cytology. At the same time, a specialist can, when examining, speak with 80% confidence about hyperkeratosis, if he finds small white patches on the ectocervix. To confirm the diagnosis, cytological analysis and colposcopy are prescribed (examination of the patient with a colposcope - backlit binocular).
Treatment of hyperkeratosis is determined by the patient's age and reproductive function. In some situations, surgery is possible, in others, surgery is a last resort, as scars are created on the uterus, causing complications during childbirth. In addition, apply:
- cryodestruction (cauterization of the foci of hyperkeratosis with liquid nitrogen);
- radiosurgical therapy;
- vaporization with a laser (exposure to leukoplakia plaques with a laser beam - to avoid scarring)
In the complex treatment of hyperkeratosis, hormonal and antibacterial therapy is used. Thus, it is possible to prevent the transition of leukoplakia to the oncological stage.
Preparation for the smear on the flat epithelium
In order for the cytological data to give the most accurate results, it is necessary to follow certain recommendations of preparation for it.
- Refrain from sexual intercourse the day before analysis.
- Do not take drugs for a couple of days before taking a smear, as they may affect the hormonal balance. The exception is oral contraceptives. A break in taking these drugs, in addition to unwanted pregnancy, triggers hormonal stress.
- Do not douche, because douching solutions can not only provoke microcracks on the surface of the vagina (and then the smear will be painful), but also wash out part of the epithelium.
- Do not go to the toilet 2.5 hours before the material is collected.
Learn about colposcopy of the cervix, this procedure is as informative as a smear.
The value of the norm of the epithelium in the smear
If the result of a smear on a flat epithelium has a value in the range of 4-15 units, then this is considered the norm. However, the value may vary in one direction or the other. If a lot of squamous epithelium is detected, then the woman has probably recently suffered an inflammation or an infectious disease, so the protective layer begins to actively grow and be renewed. If the cells of the squamous epithelium are small, then this indicates a lack of estrogen in the woman’s body and an excess of male cells.
When the results of cytological analysis show the absence of squamous epithelium in the smear or there are atypical cells in it, this indicates the development of cancer. Then the patient is prescribed a biopsy for a more detailed determination of the stage of the disease.
With the help of a smear, it is also possible to identify the signs of chlamydia in women, so you should regularly visit a gynecologist.
Additional diagnostics of squamous epithelium
The squamous epithelium in a cervical smear allows us to draw the necessary primary conclusions about the health status of a woman. But when there are suspicions about the presence of certain problems, including cancer, additional tests are assigned to the cytological examination:
- colposcopy (estimated hormonal effects on the epithelium);
- Schiller's iodine test (stains healthy epithelium cells brown, and thinned cells turn white);
- biopsy (determines atypical cells with an accuracy of 99%).
Women's health depends on a number of factors, many of which, unfortunately, cannot be affected: genetics, environmental influences and others. However, it is absolutely possible for everyone to regularly go to the gynecologist for a check-up and take all the necessary tests. Such informative examinations as a smear taken to study the state of the flat epithelium of the cervix and vagina, allow women to learn about sensitive issues in time - and solve them.