6 Abnormal Pap Smear Causes And What They Mean
Nov 02, · A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a screening procedure for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix. The cervix is the opening of the Estimated Reading Time: 6 mins. A Pap smear (also called a Pap test) screens for cervical cancer. The test checks for abnormal cells in the cervix that are cancerous or have the potential to become cancerous. During a Pap smear, your healthcare provider takes cells from the cervix to examine under a microscope for signs of cancer.
In my mids, I had my first major health scare: My gynecologist informed me of the abnormal results of tesh recent Pap smear. As I learned, there are many abnormal Pap smear causes, not all of which are serious. In my case, however, I was diagnosed with HPV and cervical tes. Early detection led to a full recovery, and I am still thankful for the abnormal Pap smear that saved my life. As the U. National Library of Medicine NLM explains, Pap smears are a screening tool used by your gynecologist to detect lal abnormal cells on your cervix.
A scraping of cells on the cervix can tell your doctor whether there are any abnormalities that should be tested further. One of the most common reasons for a Pap test is screening for cervical cancer.
Whag, as Smear reports, an abnormal Pap test result does not automatically mean that you have cancer. An abnormal result can also indicate other problems or something as simple as the onset of your period. After finding an abnormal result, your doctor will explain what the Fr indicates and the further testing or treatment you need.
One of the most common abnormal Pap smear causes is the presence of human papillomavirus HPV. It can affect both women and men, and generally it doesn't show any signs or symptoms. This is why, if you are diagnosed with the virus, it is important smeears discuss it with your sexual partner. In many cases HPV will clear up on its own without treatment and not lead to other health issues. However, in some cases it can lead to the development of certain types of cancerincluding cervical cancer.
When I was diagnosed with HPV, it had already developed into cervical dysplasia and required immediate treatment. My doctor explained that if I had only been dk with HPV, al, would have simply continued to screen me with additional Pap smears until it went away.
As NLM explains, cervical dysplasia is not cancer but rather an abnormal change to the tesst on the surface of the cervix, which, if left untreated, can lead to cervical cancer.
There are many stages of cervical dysplasia. If you have a mild- or low-grade dysplasia, your doctor may simply choose to monitor you fir the time being with follow-up exams until any further changes occur. For more advanced stages of dysplasia, wll doctor will likely recommend removing the cells.
After an abnormal Pap smear in my 20s, my doctor recommended an additional biopsywhich confirmed my advanced cervical dysplasia. The cells were removed in an out-patient surgery called a cone biopsy a more extensive biopsy procedure. I was on bed rest for a week to recover, and for the two years following I received how to work in korean entertainment company Pap smear tests every six months to be sure smeats there was no recurrence.
It was then that I realized the great importance of routine gynecological exams. I've had an annual Pap test so since. If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer, it will likely be through an abnormal Pap smear test. Cervical cancer tends to have few symptoms until the more advanced stages. NLM explains that while cervical cancer is common worldwide, it is much less so in the United States thanks to early detection through Pap smears.
Cervical cancer is a slow-growing cancer, NLM says. As long as I have routine exams, my doctor reassures me we're likely to detect abnormal or precancerous cells early enough to remove them before they can develop further. I was lucky enough to have my cervical dysplasia detected whaf treated before it developed into cancer. Since then, I firmly believe that early detection is the best way to prevent cancer.
Another one of the more common abnormal Pap smear causes, especially in women aged 16 to 35, is the sexually transmitted disease trichomoniasis. As NLM explains, trichomoniasis can cause many symptoms, such as the following:. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's a good idea to schedule a Pap smear test to confirm whether or not you have the apl, which requires an antibiotic treatment.
This STD can affect both women and men, so be sure to discuss your results with your sexual partner. It's important to remember that a Pap smear test evaluates the risk of cervical cancer. Other common STDSsuch as herpeschlamydia and gonorrhearequire additional testing.
If you are experiencing any unusual symptoms or have had unprotected sex, you tets discuss your testing options with your doctor. According smeads the Emears. Department of Health and Human Serviceswhat hard drive works with xbox 360 abnormal Pap test result can also indicate that you might have a vaginal infection. If you do have an infection, you may be experiencing such symptoms as vaginal itching and odorous discharge, the Mayo Clinic reports.
My doctor recommends a form of treatment depending on the type of infection that I have, and may perform a follow-up screening test to rule out any additional problems. Department of Health and Human Services explains, there are many harmless reasons that a Pap smear can come back abnormal, including a lab error.
If you have recently had sexual intercourse, this can affect the cells of the cervix. Having recently menstruated or being close to the start of your period can also cause cervix changes.
Using tampons and even taking a bath prior to your test can affect the results too. What part of a plant cell is made of cellulose I was pregnant with my daughter, my obstetrician performed a Pap smear as part of the routine prenatal exam. The test came back abnormal. This was scary, vor in the end there was no indication of disease, infection or cervical dysplasia.
My doctor wasn't concerned and dmears had me tested again after giving birth, at which point it came back normal. There are a few things Fpr do to make sure my Pap smear test is as accurate as possible. To prevent a false abnormal result, I avoid the factors I mentioned above at least 24 hours before getting a Pap test. Pal also try not to schedule my exam immediately before or after menstruating. There are many abnormal Pap smear causes, so I remind myself not to panic before I have a chance to discuss the flr with my doctor and determine next steps.
Trichomoniasis and Other STDS Another one of the od common abnormal Pap smear what is the effect of internet in the society, especially in women aged 16 to 35, is the sexually transmitted disease trichomoniasis.
As NLM explains, trichomoniasis can cause many symptoms, such as the following: Vaginal itching Vaginal odor Vaginal discharge If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's a good idea to schedule a Pap smear test to confirm whether or not you have the disease, which requires an antibiotic treatment.
Vaginal Infection According to the U.
Jan 31, · Pap tests (or Pap smears) look for cancers and precancers in the cervix. Precancers are cell changes that can be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). If not treated, these abnormal cells could lead to cervical cancer. An HPV test looks for HPV in cervical elvalladolid.comted Reading Time: 8 mins. Jan 21, · A Pap smear is a cervical cancer screening test that’s a routine part of a gynecological exam. But just because it’s routine doesn’t mean we all know exactly what’s happening once we get up-close-and-personal with that elvalladolid.com: Chanel Dubofsky. May 26, · A Pap smear is a test done starting at age 21 in which small samples of tissue are scraped from the cervix, from near the cervix and from approximately a centimeter inside the cervix and are sent off to a lab for testing. Abnormalities like pre-cancerous or cancerous cells are looked for during a Pap elvalladolid.com: Nick Corlis.
In a Pap test, your doctor uses a vaginal speculum to hold your vaginal walls apart and to see the cervix. Next, a sample of cells from your cervix is collected using a small cone-shaped brush and a tiny plastic spatula 1 and 2. Your doctor then rinses the brush and spatula in a liquid-filled vial 3 and sends the vial to a laboratory for testing.
A Pap smear involves collecting cells from your cervix — the lower, narrow end of your uterus that's at the top of your vagina. Detecting cervical cancer early with a Pap smear gives you a greater chance at a cure. A Pap smear can also detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest cancer may develop in the future. Detecting these abnormal cells early with a Pap smear is your first step in halting the possible development of cervical cancer. The Pap smear is usually done in conjunction with a pelvic exam.
In women older than age 30, the Pap test may be combined with a test for human papillomavirus HPV — a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer. In some cases, the HPV test may be done instead of a Pap smear. You and your doctor can decide when it's time for you to begin Pap testing and how often you should have the test.
Women age 30 and older can consider Pap testing every five years if the procedure is combined with testing for HPV. Or they might consider HPV testing instead of the Pap test. If you have certain risk factors, your doctor may recommend more-frequent Pap smears, regardless of your age. These risk factors include:. You and your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks of Pap smears and decide what's best for you based on your risk factors.
After a total hysterectomy. After a total hysterectomy — surgical removal of the uterus including the cervix — ask your doctor if you need to continue having Pap smears.
If your hysterectomy was performed for a noncancerous condition, such as uterine fibroids, you may be able to discontinue routine Pap smears.
But if your hysterectomy was for a precancerous or cancerous condition of the cervix, your doctor may recommend continuing routine Pap testing. Older age. Doctors generally agree that women can consider stopping routine Pap testing at age 65 if their previous tests for cervical cancer have been negative. Discuss your options with your doctor and together you can decide what's best for you based on your risk factors.
If you're sexually active with multiple partners, your doctor may recommend continuing Pap testing. A Pap smear is a safe way to screen for cervical cancer. However, a Pap smear isn't foolproof. It's possible to receive false-negative results — meaning that the test indicates no abnormality, even though you do have abnormal cells. A false-negative result doesn't mean that a mistake was made. Factors that can cause a false-negative result include:. Although it's possible for abnormal cells to go undetected, time is on your side.
Cervical cancer takes several years to develop. And if one test doesn't detect the abnormal cells, the next test most likely will. The ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and vagina vaginal canal make up the female reproductive system. A Pap smear is performed in your doctor's office and takes only a few minutes. You may be asked to undress completely or only from the waist down. You'll lie down on your back on an exam table with your knees bent. Your heels rest in supports called stirrups.
Your doctor will gently insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum holds the walls of your vagina apart so that your doctor can easily see your cervix. Inserting the speculum may cause a sensation of pressure in your pelvic area. Then your doctor will take samples of your cervical cells using a soft brush and a flat scraping device called a spatula.
This usually doesn't hurt. Depending on the type of Pap testing you're undergoing, your doctor transfers the cell sample collected from your cervix into a container holding a special liquid to preserve the sample liquid-based Pap test or onto a glass slide conventional Pap smear.
The samples are transferred to a laboratory where they're examined under a microscope to look for characteristics in the cells that indicate cancer or a precancerous condition.
If only normal cervical cells were discovered during your Pap smear, you're said to have a negative result. You won't need any further treatment or testing until you're due for your next Pap smear and pelvic exam. If abnormal or unusual cells were discovered during your Pap smear, you're said to have a positive result. A positive result doesn't mean you have cervical cancer. What a positive result means depends on the type of cells discovered in your test. Squamous cells are thin and flat and grow on the surface of a healthy cervix.
In the case of ASCUS, the Pap smear reveals slightly abnormal squamous cells, but the changes don't clearly suggest that precancerous cells are present. With the liquid-based test, your doctor can reanalyze the sample to check for the presence of viruses known to promote the development of cancer, such as some types of human papillomavirus HPV.
If no high-risk viruses are present, the abnormal cells found as a result of the test aren't of great concern. If worrisome viruses are present, you'll need further testing. Squamous intraepithelial lesion. This term is used to indicate that the cells collected from the Pap smear may be precancerous. If the changes are low grade, it means the size, shape and other characteristics of the cells suggest that if a precancerous lesion is present, it's likely to be years away from becoming a cancer.
If the changes are high grade, there's a greater chance that the lesion may develop into cancer much sooner. Additional diagnostic testing is necessary. Atypical glandular cells. Glandular cells produce mucus and grow in the opening of your cervix and within your uterus. Atypical glandular cells may appear to be slightly abnormal, but it's unclear whether they're cancerous.
Squamous cell cancer or adenocarcinoma cells. This result means the cells collected for the Pap smear appear so abnormal that the pathologist is almost certain a cancer is present. If such cells are found, your doctor will recommend prompt evaluation. If your Pap smear is abnormal, your doctor may perform a procedure called colposcopy using a special magnifying instrument colposcope to examine the tissues of the cervix, vagina and vulva.
Your doctor also may take a tissue sample biopsy from any areas that appear abnormal. The tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis and a definitive diagnosis. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. Don't delay your care at Mayo Clinic Schedule your appointment now for safe in-person care.
This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Overview Pap test Open pop-up dialog box Close. Pap test In a Pap test, your doctor uses a vaginal speculum to hold your vaginal walls apart and to see the cervix.
Pap smear: Still needed after hysterectomy? Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic. Female reproductive system Open pop-up dialog box Close. Female reproductive system The ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and vagina vaginal canal make up the female reproductive system.
Share on: Facebook Twitter. Show references Cervical cancer screening. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Accessed May 28, Pap test.
Office on Women's Health. Feldman S, et al. Screening for cervical cancer. Smith RA, et al. Cancer screening in the United States, A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. Curry SJ, et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. Cervical cancer screening. Rochester, Minn. Massad LS, et al.
Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease. Committee on Practice Bulletins—Gynecology. Cervical cancer screening and prevention. Mayo Clinic Marketplace Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.