What Pap Smear Results Really Mean for You
Hearing the results are “abnormal” for any test you get can be pretty unsettling – especially if it’s the outcome of your most recent Pap smear. While some cervixes do not show any differences at all, others may have abnormal cell changes. At Women First Health Center, our OB-GYN’s are experienced and effectively trained to perform Pap smears, detect these abnormal results and treat the patient appropriately.
Causes of an Abnormal Pap Smear
The cause of an abnormal Pap smear result is infection with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Sometimes infections can cause an abnormal reading, including yeast, protozoa, or bacteria. Also, the natural changing of cells during or post-menopause can cause similar Pap smear results, but a true abnormal pap is caused by HPV. Other lifestyle choices can put a woman at a higher risk for having an abnormal Pap smear, including smoking, and practicing unprotected sex (increasing her chances of getting HPV).
Next Steps: Having a Colposcopy
After a woman receives her Pap smear, the cell samples are sent to a lab for routine testing. This testing reveals whether or not the results are normal, with no changes in the cells, or abnormal, with changes in the cells. If the results are abnormal, the next step may be a colposcopy. This is a procedure that examines the cervix, vagina and vulva using a colposcope. The colposcopy will allow a better visualization of the cervix, abnormal areas, and enable the doctor to perform biopsies.
Terminology of Pap Results
When the cervical cells are brought to a laboratory, pathologists compare, label, and rate them on a scale of normal to abnormal. Minor cell changes are typically found to be ASC-US or ASC-H. While both of these are similar, ASC-H cells have a greater chance of becoming more serious. The next category is LSIL. This refers to low grade changes that often return to normal spontaneously over time. More radical cell changes are labeled as HSIL and AGC, which are usually precancerous and have a greater chance of turning into cervical cancer.
OB/GYN in West Orange, New Jersey
Dealing with an abnormal Pap smear may be overwhelming at first, but it helps to have OB-GYN’s that are both respectful and compassionate. At Women First Health Center we are truly committed to these values, and take abnormal Pap smear results very seriously. Contact our office today 973-669-5711 to schedule your next pap smear.