- The uterine cervix is composed of muscle and collagen, which change as women age and under hormonal influences like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Yet even though knowledge of structure of the cervix (especially the collagen network) is important to detect problems that may affect pregnancy and other women s health issues, no noninvasive techniques are available to evaluate such changes.
- A specially designed polarized camera attached to a conventional colposcope can be used to take cervical images. Analyzing these images may enable researchers to better visualize the collagen network in the cervix.
- To explore and gain experience with the use of a polarized imaging system to study cervical structure.
- To evaluate the usefulness of a polarized imaging system in studying the cervical structure of healthy nonpregnant women.
- Adult females (at least 18 years of age) who are having regular menstrual cycles and are not on hormonal medications.
- Images will be takes from the cervix in two different phases of menstruation cycle time, one in the follicular phase (before ovulation) and another one in the luteal phase (after ovulation).
- The images of the cervix will be taken with a vaginal speculum in place with the camera attached to a colposcope. The colposcope will illuminate the cervix using polarized light. Three random cervical locations will be photographed
| Study Start Date:
||July 15, 2009
| Estimated Study Completion Date:
||September 1, 2016
The uterine cervix is composed of muscle and collagen which changes as women age and under hormonal influences like after puberty, during pregnancy, and with menopause. It has been determined that during pregnancy, prior to cervical ripening, cross linked collagen fibrils are organized in tight bundles which provide tensile strength, rigidity and stiffness. As the cervix ripens in preparation for labor, cervical collagen concentration is decreases and solubility increases. However, there are no noninvasive techniques available to evaluate such structural changes especially of the collagen of cervix. Developing a non-invasive way to evaluate the characteristics of cervical structure and collagen may aid in identifying women who are at risk of early cervical dilation. A specially designed polarized camera attached to a conventional colposcope can be used to take cervical images. Analyzing these images may enable us to visualize the collagen network in cervix. The purpose of this study is to explore the usefulness of polarized camera images in evaluating the cervical structure of healthy women at different ages. After evaluating and validating this approach in healthy, nonpregnant women, we plan to assess the cervical structure of pregnant women, some of whom may be at risk of early cervical dilation.