If conditions exist that require more intensive treatment for cervical erosion than antibiotics or antiviral medications, laser treatment benefits exceed those of cauterisation. And for those individuals whose cervical erosion may precede cervical cancer---as is sometimes the case---laser treatment is used for both conditions.
The female cervix, located below the uterus in the female body, serves to protect the uterus from viruses and bacteria. But when the cervix becomes damaged or infected---and inflammation occurs---the risk that the uterus may eventually be affected as well is increased, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Cervical erosion (also known as cervical ulceration or cervicitis) is a medical condition in which the tissue cells that normally cover the surface or mouth of the cervix (known as squamous cells) become damaged or inflamed, according to the online website Drugs.com. The cervix will appear red and irritated or inflamed when this condition occurs.
Cervical erosion can be caused by many different things, according to the online website Drugs.com, including intercourse, herpes, tampons that were not removed and foreign objects placed in the vagina.
In addition, allergies to contraceptive spermicides or latex condoms---and bacterial vaginosis (overgrowth of vaginal bacteria)--can also cause this condition according to the Mayo Clinic.
Cervical erosion treatment is based upon the cause of the condition. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. Anti-viral medications are prescribed for viral infections like genital herpes. And trauma-induced---or allergic reaction-generated cervical erosion---may not require any medication treatment at all if the trauma activity ceases and the use of the offending chemical product (spermicide, latex condom) is halted.
But if additional treatment is needed, cauterisation (also known as diathermy) is also used, according to Drugs.com. Cauterisation, a process in which electricity, heat or chemicals is used to burn the abnormal cells, can help to stop bleeding as well. However, it can also cause scarring of the cervical area. That is why laser treatment is sometimes used instead.
Cervical erosion is sometimes an early cervical cancer sign, according to Drugs.com. And laser treatment is used to remove abnormal cells that are present in cervical cancer, even if they are benign (non-cancerous).
According to the University of Iowa's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, normal cervical cells are not harmed by the laser beam during treatment---just the abnormal cells---making this a preferred option over cauterisation.
In addition, while future pap smear capability may not be possible after cauterisation, if complications occur during treatment---this isn't true of laser treatment, providing one more reason it is preferable as a treatment for abnormal cervical cells.