Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (LSIL)?

One cell constitutes a single building block of the body. Everyone already knows that, even little children who have a basic grasp of human anatomy, but due to the current scourge of diseases like cancer, some of these cells that are supposed to build and protect the body have been transformed into ruthless attackers.

So now we have numerous conditions where a specific group of cells are trying to overtake the whole biological system, like acute lymphocytic leukemia for example. There is also a similar disease that is comparable to the former, though Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion originates and mainly affects a different part of the body. So now, let us look at the importance of low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion and how it impacts the body of a human being, particularly in the case of women.

Let us start first with the “basics” before getting in to more detail. A squamous cell basically looks like a flat and plate like cell. Usually, this type of cell is more abundant at the edges of the epithelium. The epithelium is a part of the body which covers both the internal and external organs of the body separately.

More often, it also envelops the various parts of the body like the linings of the vessels, body cavities, glands, and organs of different systems and functions. The epithelium also consists of cells which are bound together by some connective material and varies in the number of layers and the kinds of cells.

There are also different types of squamous epithelial cells. There is the simple squamous epithelium, which only has one layer. Examples of this include mesothelium, endothelium, and pulmonary alveoli. The other, which is the stratified squamous epithelium, consists of a basal layer of cuboidal cells and other overlying layers of squamous cells. The epidermis that is a part of our skin, for example, comprises five different layers alone.

Having a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion means that these otherwise normal cells have some abnormalities in them. The most commonly affected organ, at least for women, is the cervix. The verdict is still out with regards to what causes a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. The “culprit” is typically a minor injury that has healed in the cervix. The healing “process” has then caused these squamous cells to exhibit a rapid overgrowth that can only seem as unnatural for the affected patient.

Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion Symptoms & Signs

Typically, a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion will not manifest itself in its early incarnation. However, as the lesion spreads, the different signs and symptoms may appear.


Long-standing pruritus or itching and soreness are the most common initial manifestations of a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. Itching occurs in half of all the patients with these lesions.


Bleeding, foul-smelling discharge, and pain may also be present and are usually giveaway signs that the disease has indeed progressed.  There may be some instances when the lesions may be visible and accessible and grow relatively slowly.

Early lesions may appear as chronic dermatitis or skin inflammation. Later on, some of these patients may also notice that a “lump” will then continue to grow and will eventually become a hard, ulcerated, and cauliflower-like in appearance.

Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion Causes

As we have mentioned above, the exact cause of a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion is still unknown. The only thing that most researchers can agree on is the possible risk factors of this condition.

Though a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion in the cervix does not indicate that the patient is now experiencing cancer, it should serve as a “warning” sign that an occurrence of cancer may happen in the near future.  Low grade squamous intraepithelial lesions represent 4% of all potential gynaecologic malignancies and are seen mostly in postmenopausal women. However, the incidence for younger women is also increasing. The median age for this condition is fifty years of age.

Other possible risk factors that women should be aware of with regards to a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion are

  1. smoking,
  2. human papillomavirus (HPV) infection,
  3. human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and
  4. immunosuppression

The less common risk factors are

  1. bartholin’s gland cancer
  2. vulvar sarcoma and
  3. malignant melanoma.

LSIL Diagnosis & Treatment

As much as possible, gynaecologists everywhere are not recommending any kind of treatment to be done with a low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. The reason is that, unless it has progressed to something far more severe, it should not be attempted to excise or remove the lesion in any way. The best thing that a patient can do is to just “wait”, however impatient patients may be for some drastic procedure to be done.

Gynaecologists or any health care professional is in an ideal position to encourage the patient to perform a vulvar self-examination test regularly using the aid of a mirror. With the mirror, the patient can see what constitutes a normal female anatomy and learn about any changes that should be reported, like the increase in size of the lesion, ulcers, masses, or even a persistent itching. The doctor should urge the patient to seek proper health care if anything abnormal is noticed to be happening inside. A regular pap test every four to six months should also be observed by the patient in question, as well.

However, there may be some cases when a gynaecologist may deem that the lesions may be progressing more rapidly than they had initially expected. In cases like these, some rather aggressive and diagnostic procedures can be employed by the attending physician. One of these is a colposcopy, an examination of the vagina and the cervix with an optical magnifying instrument, which is called a colposcope. A colposcopy is also commonly performed after a pap smear test in the treatment of cervical dysplasia, which is an abnormal tissue development of the uterine cervix. The most dangerous thing about having a cervical dysplasia is that, in about one out of ten cases which have been monitored over recent years, the atypical epithelium which the gynaecologist has observed earlier can progress to a full-blown carcinoma.

A biopsy may also be performed in lieu of a colposcopy. In this procedure, a small piece of living tissue from an organ or other part of the body is removed for microscopic examination. 

The results from this examination can then confirm or establish a diagnosis. It can also estimate the prognosis of the client, or even follow the course of the disease. This kind of procedure is commonly used to determine whether the cancer is present or has spread inside the body.

Biopsy results of LSIL under electron microscope.

Picture 1 – Biopsy results of LSIL under electron microscope.

Prevention of LSIL

However, prevention may be as simple as decreasing the incidence of the risk factors associated with low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion. Some simple things, like abstaining from promiscuous sexual activity or having multiple sex partners, can be helpful in reducing the chances of this disease being aggravated.

Read & compare – High Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (HGSIL) – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Posted in Diseases & Conditions
58 comments on “Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
  1. Laura Wilson says:

    My sister was told she had squamous intraepithelial lesion due to low estrogen. They are prescribing estorgen to be applied to the vaginal area. I have read numerous articles on different websites and yours is the best and closest to what she was told. Nothing in any of the websites said anything about low estrogen being the cause of this illness. Is this accurate or did she misunderstand? Love your site and am book marking it. Thanks for being the best informative website.

  2. Medical assistant says:

    I just happened to browse through your interesting topic. I wanted to ask, who are the persons at riskfor having Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions?

    • Dr. Alapati says:

      Thank you for visiting my webpage. Persons who smokes or are diagnosed with having the Human Papillomavirus or HPV infection or HIV or what is known as Human immunodeficiency virus infection and person who has a decrease immune system are much more at risk into having this kind of disease condition. Statistics shows that most reported persons that have this disease condition are women in their post menopausal stage at around 50 years and above.

      • ELISA says:

        I am 23 years old and I was just diagnosed with this disease. I went online as soon as she told me about it and I found your website. She told me not to worry, but on this website seems much more serious than what she explained. The Doctor recommended me a colposcopy.

      • Ashley says:

        Does it cause infertility?

    • B Charleston says:

      One who had a hysterectomy to ever come into cancer.

  3. Mariq H Angula says:

    I like your way of teaching people.

    • admin says:

      The information is difficult to understand for common people. Next time I will try to tell in easy and better way. Keep visiting my blog and share this article to your friends :)

  4. neoline says:

    I am a fresh graduate and I have heard about this kind of disease condition that is often seen on post menopausal women. I have a mother who is on that state. I am just curious; what are the symptoms associated with this disease condition?

    • Dr.Maria says:

      Typically the persons having such disease condition will not be able to manifest early signs and symptoms. The signs and symptoms will only appear when the lesions have already spread. It is important that you keep watch of the two important signs: pruritus or long standing itching sensation and Bleeding or having foul smelling discharges. Pain may also be present. In preventing such disease, it is much better that you advice your mother to see a physician and have regular Pap smear, or at least once in every 3-6 months time or depending on the suggestion of your chosen doctor. I hope the information helps.

      • neoline says:

        thank you so much for answering my question instantly. I will look for the signs and symptoms that are associated with the disease condition. I will tell my mother about it. More power to your website!

  5. donna says:

    I found out that I have this about a year ago and every 6 months since then I’ve had to go back for a PAP. Now my doctor is wanting to do a Secound colposcopy should I be worried? I’m scared that I might have cancer.

  6. Nicole says:

    hi there. ive had Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion twice now, one in 2007 and one now, and im 30 now, so it can affect anyone at any age

  7. Dee says:

    You say the “culprit” could be the healing of a minor injury in the cervix. I was diagnosed recently after a PAP with LGSIL. I have had PAPs annually for the last 17 years and never had a diagnosis of HPV, any STD or any other abnormality. I have had few sexual partners in life, and was sexually inactive for about a year until and a few months ago, when I became active with a rather …”large” man. I experienced bleeding after intercourse and dull pain which went away, which I attributed to his size. However, for the past few months, I have not been feeling quite right, which prompted me to see my GYN. She ruled out any infection, HPV or STDS. My question is – Could rough sex or injury through sex be a type of “injury” you speak of to cause LGSIL?

    Many thanks.

  8. Dimple says:

    My Pap Smear test shows possible low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion.Could you please tell me the causes of this in simple language and what precautions should i take? Can I cure it by any food? Doctor has recommended me to do the test after a year. what is your opinion? Please reply ASAP

    • Sheena says:

      I was told almost a year ago that I had it. My doctor does a PAP every 6 months to “keep an eye on it” i was also refered to a OB/GYN and they did a bioposy. My OB/GYN doctor said that normally if I were older (I’m only 26) and if I had children they would probably operate and take out part of my cervix, but seeing as I dont have children yet they are trying to hold off on that as long as possible. My friends mom had the same thing, she later got cancer and had to have surgery to remove it. Im scared that same thing will happen but the doctors are telling me that often times it just goes away on its own.

      best of luck

  9. Dimple says:

    what does HPV mean in simple language?

  10. angela says:

    I have known a friend who was diagnosed with such kind of disease condition. She was treated with the use of laser therapy. She is in the recovery stage at the moment. I also did some research and I was able to gather information about its treatment. I have read that it can be either treated, aside from the laser treatment, via conization, Cryotherapy and LEEP. I hope the information helps.

  11. Samantha D says:

    Hi I’ve just been diagnosed with LGSIL and I’ve notice sharp pains in my pelvic area as well as yellowish greenish discharge with a fowel smell. Is this a tell tale of anything or just the symptoms of the LGSIL?


  12. Ashley says:

    A year ago I had a hysterectomy to treat cervical cancer. My 6 month pap was clear. I recently had a pap which showed lgisl. What is the prognosis? I am only 35 and I’m afraid.

  13. Sheena says:

    I was diagonsed when I was 25. I went for my annual PAP and the doctor told me I had Low Grade. I was scheduled for another PAP 6 months from then to “keep an eye on it”. I then started having abnormal bleeding and a lot of pain (like really bad period cramps) I went to a walk in clinic where they told me I should go have an ultrasound done to see if I had endometriosis. I had that done and there is nothing wrong with my overies. With pain continuing I was refered to a OB/GYN and they did the colposcopy confirming what my family doctor found. I now have to wait till April to have my second colposcopy done. I have not had my period for 5 months now, the doctor has me taking my birth control no-stop, because the pain is really bad when I do get my period. I have spotting (brown, old blood) sometimes. Should I be worried?

    • admin says:

      Sheena, by above information it looks that your condition looks has been progressed badly. Off course, don’t worry and I am sure u will have good prognosis. Keep faith in doctor :) Share this article on Facebook and twitter.

  14. vivian says:

    dear doc,
    im 29 years old women and now im diagonsed with this LSIL.
    why its happen to me?im not a smokers or having many sex partners?
    the truth its,i was make sex in early age.i was 16 while i done that.
    its is the couse to?
    please help me…
    i dont know what will happen to me if i dont have any support.
    thanks for your coorpretion.

    • admin says:

      Vivian, dont worry. LSIL is not dangerous. Consult the local physician. Byw, have pap smear once for 6 months. Keep visiting our blog and share this article to your friends. God bless :)

  15. Chrissy says:

    hi i am twenty seven years old, i had my tubes tied, snipped and burned last summer, and i have had weird and very unusual symptoms of pain, abnormal bleeding, nausea, lower back pain and dizzyness. I was told just a week ago that cells from my last pap was abnormal, and i had precancerous cells in my cervix, i am due for a colcoscopy to look at the cells more closely, and i also have endometriosis which was found when i got my tubes tied after my last child, i only have one and had him last march. I am very concerned that i could have cancer or something else very wrong, could u plz ease my mind and worries a little bit thanx!!!

  16. Chrissy says:

    i also have been checked for pregnancy and its come back negative everytime, and now i may have something called hpv virus from being sexually active, can u plz explain to me what this is and if its something really bad or serious??

  17. SEMAJ says:

    well, i have 3 pap smears one came back for a vaginal infection, i’ve had a yeast infection, trichomoniases meaning trichomonas, but recently i had a pap smear done they said they could see some secretions on the cervix wall so, they decided to test me for HPV and it came back saying abnormalities (abnormal cells) and I am advocating for myself to receive as much information as possible, i need you to give me some advice because my pap test have never came back for HPV before thank u im 15

  18. Jessica says:

    Hi, I am only 21 yrs old and have just been diagnosed with LSIL today. In high-school we were given 3 separate injections (a couple months apart) by a government organisation as apart of a new trial vaccination against Cervical Cancer?!? Obviously did not work..

    It is apparent that LSIL is becoming much more prominent in younger women than first thought to be.

    I think it is awful having to just ‘wait’ until the disease progresses, until you actually experience symptoms, until there are physical signs of the damage it is causing.
    Do you have to wait if you have early signs of breast cancer!? NO!! Why should we have to wait and run the risk of letting this spread through-out our other organs.

    More should be done!

  19. Buyi says:

    I have genatal warts so i went to the clinic in the clinic they transfered me to the hospital.the doctor recommend that i should do pap smear the resullt came back saying iv got low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion and im afraid that i will have cancer in the future what must i do to treat this and the warts?

    • Xantol says:

      They should have prescribed you a wart cream that burns it off so you want to apply it directly to the site(lesions) and no where else. May have to be done with several applications if all is not removed in first application. VERY IMPORTANT: Abstain for sexual activities during your treatment since it can spread to other parts of your vagina and to your partner (its contagious). It may resurface so continue the application until they are gone. Wait at least 3 clean months with no outbreaks in between from your last application before continuing sexual activities. GW is a strain of HPV and like any other virus (ie. cold) it will always be in your system but given time your body will build antibodies against the virus and will become dominant

      There are a couple of oral meds on google if you search- whether it works prob depends on the person and the severity. I heard applying apple cider vinegar has helped. As for the LGSIL, I think that’s everyone’s question but the only treatment is invasive which is what ANGELA posted.

  20. Allison says:

    If I have this, should I tell my previous sexual partners?

    • Xantol says:

      Sadly, it only affects women. It hasn’t been support thru any study i came across yet but i feel there is a strong link between LGSIL/HGSIL and HPV. Men are not affected by LGSIL (could be the anatomy also) and neither are they affect by HPV (except the low grade strains that case warts)

      “The likely chance of a man getting HPV and causing genital cancer is rare” (webmd) instead women has a much higher risk!

      *Just on a rant- its completely unfair

  21. KC says:

    Can this disease be spread on to my living husband in any way possible. I don’t have multiple partners n I am not a smoker!

  22. Nata says:

    can U tell me pls-if i have this LGSIL, I DID hpv TEST-it showed positive for high risk virus, is it very bad? im only 27…how can i treat it? COZ I REALLY WORRY
    thank U

  23. Letty says:

    I was bleeding after intercourse and had pain, my insides felt “swollen” went to OBGYN and he found a cerical lesion. He “cauterized” it and told me I was fine. I left confused and concerned….anything I should be doing?

    • Xantol says:

      Do not trust your doctor to tell you everything. YOU need to be proactive and ask. Some get paid by pumping in as much patients as possible vs. some docs are focused on individual care.

      From what your saying sounds like you tore and he closed you up. i would be on top of getting a pap smear sooner than later to make sure there wasnt an infection-

      Best of Luck

  24. Kelly says:

    I was diagnosed with LGSIL when I did my pap smear back in 2010. I wasn’t sure what to do so I didn’t do anything. I just had another pap early this year 2012 and while the result came out that I’m having some yeast infection, it didn’t say anything about the LGSIL anymore. Through out the years, I never had any bleeding or spotting or very painful periods like others experienced. I did have yeast infections few times but when I checked to the doctor it was just stress yeast infection. It wasn’t green or foamy or smelling so bad. So does it mean that the LGSIL is gone now?

  25. LJ says:

    I had a pap last week and was told about LSIL and am going in for the colposcopy sometime soon. I was wondering what the lump would look like. Does it look pimple-ish?

    • Xantol says:

      I’ve seen pictures of LGSIL they aren’t lumps…. if that was it would be classified as a tumor and that’s advance maybe stage II carcinoma. But I havn’t seen all so maybe

      The method here: In the colpo they take a piece of your cervix to examine the progression by applying a special solution to see if its cancerous. That’s when they decide to leave it alone as it may regress on its own or do a procedure to stop it from spreading.

      Best of Luck

  26. ruby says:

    Im in a very tough situation and i don’t know what to do I got a pap smear and it ended up being the low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion and the doctor recommended me a colposcopy but Im 17 so i have to have a parental signature and my family doesn’t like signing any paper work for me even if its for my health so I was wondering if there is anyway of me getting a colposcopy without parental/legal guardian signature or anything for me getting help before it gets worse?

    • Matt says:

      Ruby, I don’t understand why your family doesn’t want to sign it for you if it is for your health. I believe the only legal way for you to get a Pap smear at your age is to have your guardians sign the paper work. Inform them about LSIL and give them resources in order for them to know your condition. In this way, they will know that you really need the colposcopy in order for you to detect any presence of cervical cancer. If it is for your health, and they are informed about the procedure, maybe they will sign it for you.

    • Xantol says:

      When is your 18th birthday???

      In many medical journals, women who get LGSIL while pregnant end up waiting after their baby is out to do the colpo because they werent comfortable with the procedure that close to their fetus.

      It’s not High grade which is a good thing. And LGSIL metastasizing, spreading is not as rapid as you think. These women waited a year before doing a colpo and their doctor’s was fined with it. Some LGSIL even up clearing up on their own.

      You should discuss that with your doctor. You being so young I dont think your at a high risk. I think she/he will agree.

      Best of Luck!

  27. shiellah says:

    your site is very helpful. Keep informing us ang God bless you in abundance and maybe you guys will one day find a cure for these dreadful diseases. Thanx

  28. Nduka ij says:

    Tanks for this site, pls i just received a pap smear result that says i have LGSIL, can i opt for removing d cervis since my mum died of cervical cancer. Answer me pls

    • Xantol says:

      Unless your NOT planning on having any children I wouldn’t jump to that. Esp if you want to remove your cervix they might just do a hysterectomy since there’s little purpose in the rest. It’s difficult to conceive w/o a cervix.

      It’s a very expensive and invasive procedure and used as a last resort for cervical cancer not LGSIL or even HGSIL. You do not have cancer yet I wouldn’t jump the gun.

      They might just do the other procedure ANGELA posted. At most they may cut off a part of your cervix but that’s only if it progressed to High grade, spread, and/or nonresponsive to the other treatments.

      But you caught it early which means your doctors will take care of the condition before it gets aggressive and turn into cancer. LGSIL might even clear up on its own. See what your colpo results are. Just remember to be on top of your check ups.


  29. Emily says:

    I was diagnosed with LGSIL, three years ago by PAP, I am 53 yrs. old. I had an unprotected sexual encounter, after years with one partner. I was so appalled to get the results from the Dr. After researching I found a company in the States that sold VIRAL FREE supplements. The OB.GYN did 3 colposcopy and by the third time, it was back to normal. Since then I have refrained from sex till recently and after another encounter with another partner, I had a painful encounter which resulted in bleeding for 7 days. Diagnosed again with LG, it seemed to have flare up after 3 yrs. I have had no periods since turning 49, other than spotting. Symptons were slightly fluid sticky discharge and itchy vulva but no odors or warts. Being sent to another OB.GYN to get a colpscopy and taking the supplements again to relieve the symptons. Could the HPV be dormant after years of being symptons free before and during a monogamous relationship.
    Can LG come from a one time sexual encounter or was it caused by body stress during menopause. I did have mono, trich, gonorrhea when I was in my 20’s but was treated early on. Should I refrain from sex from my new lifetime partner, do I tell him about the LG. Should I go and get partial cervix removed, so I do not worry about LG coming back ever..
    I do highly recommend the supplements, it was a great relief for the symptons although my own family Dr. was leary that there are supplements for this. It helped me and I feel great taking them.

  30. Anna says:

    Hi doc, I diagnosed with HGSIL and severe dysplasia .
    Can u explain and this is serious. Pls help me thanks

  31. laura says:

    I just got my results back I am low grade and hpv. I am schudeled for a colosphy at a clinic. I am so scared I am postmenopause and have one sexual partner since my divorce. Please help me understand all this.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Low Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment"
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    […] Squamous intraepithelial lesion is a premalignant lesion that may progress to cervical cancer when undetected. This is only one of the reasons why sexually transmitted diseases should be prevented in women. Clinics acknowledge the fact that women are embarrassed in seeking help regarding STDs. In this regard, there has been rise in home testing kits, which allows women to detect the presence of STDs anonymously and without going to the clinic. Early detection is essential in order to prevent more serious complications such as cancer, Pelvic inflammatory disease, sepsis and infertility. […]

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