Gynecology Abnormal PAP Smears - Frequently Asked Questions What does an abnormal pap smear mean? Being alarmed or worried is a completely normal reaction when told your Pap smear is abnormal. An abnormal Pap smear may indicate that you have an infection or abnormal cells called dysplasia. It's important to remember that abnormal Pap smear results do not mean you have cancer. These results just show that further testing should be done to verify whether or not there is a problem. What could cause an abnormal pap smear result? An abnormal Pap smear may indicate any of the following: An infection or an inflammation Herpes Trichomoniasis Recent sexual activity HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) - This is also called genital warts (up to 60% of women may carry this virus on their cervix, genital area, or skin and are completely unaware of it). Dysplasia (abnormal cells that can be pre-cancerous) What is the treatment for an abnormal Pap smear? A positive result indicates the presence of abnormal cells, also called an abnormal Pap. Remember that this is a test, not a diagnosis. A positive result does not prove that you have cancer or even dysplasia (a pre-cancerous condition). However, it usually means you should have further evaluation, such as another Pap smear, a colposcopy (using a microscope to look more closely at the cervix) or a biopsy (removing a small amount of tissue from the cervix). Your doctor will discuss the results with you. HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is the biggest risk factor for cervical cancer, but most women who receive treatment for abnormal cells caused by HPV, do not develop cervical cancer. If the abnormal cells persist, you may need further treatment, which may include the following: Colposcopy - which is an examination in which a speculum is inserted into the vagina, and the cervix is painted with a vinegar solution which makes any abnormal areas stand out. When an abnormal area is located, a sample (biopsy) of the area may be taken for accurate diagnosis by a pathologist. Cryosurgery - freezing of the abnormal cells, is usually performed next. Cone biopsy is a procedure in which a triangle of cervical tissue is removed including the abnormal cells; this is either performed in a doctor's office or as an outpatient procedure. Bleeding and watery discharge are common after this treatment. LEEP procedure is similar to a cone biopsy, but a loop-shaped instrument is used to remove the abnormal area. Bleeding and discharge may also occur. What check-ups are necessary after treatment? Check-ups following treatment are necessary to make sure all the abnormal cells are gone and the cervix has healed. Early detection is the key to minimize the risk of cancer developing. After treatment, women will be advised by their health care providers as to how often they will need to have routine Pap smears. What if I have an abnormal pap smear during pregnancy? It is safe to have a Pap smear during pregnancy. If your Pap smear results are abnormal, a colposcopy could be performed during your pregnancy, usually without biopsy. However, further treatment will probably be delayed until after your baby is born. Having an abnormal Pap smear does not pose a risk to your baby. Location 378 South Branch Road Suite 403 Hillsborough, NJ 08844 (908) 369-0970 Gyn - Home Birth Control Pill - Facts Abnormal PAP smears - FAQs Laparoscopic Surgery