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What is erosion and how does it occur?

Q: I am a 28 years old female having excessive white discharge from the vagina for the last four months. I want to know what erosion is and what are its symptoms and implications?

A:Erosion is actually a misnomer as there is no ulcer as such. It actually means replacement of the normal squamous epithelium of the ectocervix with columnar epithelium. This can be congenital (since birth), or after delivery or cervical infection. Usual symptoms are recurrent cervical infection presenting as discharge and at times, blood stained discharge, especially after intercourse. You need to get Pap smear and cervical smear (stained by Grams stain) done. Also, you may require a colposcopic examination - (examination of cervix with a microscope) and a cervical smear for HPV DNA test (if Pap smear report is abnormal). Following these tests, you may require cryosurgery of the cervix.

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