What Is an Abnormal Pap Smear?
Pap smear, also known as a Pap test, is a process in which cells from a woman’s cervix (lower part of the uterus) are collected and tested for cervical cancer or precancerous alterations. The cells are obtained in the clinic during a pelvic check.
A positive Pap smear indicates that the cells collected have abnormal alterations. It doesn’t always indicate cancer cells were discovered.
What Causes a Pap Smear That Isn’t Normal?
Abnormal Pap smear results can be caused by a variety of factors. Your doctor will assess the results to see if additional testing is required, which may include:
Pap smear should be repeated.
A special microscope (colposcope) that amplifies the view of the tissue lining the cervix and vaginal walls is used to examine the cervix and vaginal walls. If the doctor notices an area of abnormal cells, he or she may do a biopsy.
HPV (human papillomavirus) testing.
HPV infection, a common illness spread through sexual contact, is the leading cause of abnormal Pap test results. It comes in a variety of forms. Some forms have been associated with the cervix, vulva, and vaginal cancer. Others have been connected to warts on the vaginal area.
Endometrial sampling is a procedure that involves taking a sample of the endo A test to collect a sample of the uterine lining.
How Often Should I Be Selected for Screening?
By detecting and treating cervical cancer before it becomes life-threatening, routine Pap screenings have dramatically reduced the death rate from cervical cancer in the United States.
Cervical cancer can be prevented with regular screening by detecting and treating abnormal or precancerous cells before they become cancerous.
Women should undergo their first Pap smear at the age of 21, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Frequency recommendations are based on age and personal risk factors.
- Women under the age of 30 should undergo a Pap test every two years, according to ACOG.
- Every two years, women over the age of 30 should get a Pap test.
If a woman in this age range has three consecutive normal Pap test results, she may undergo Pap tests every three years if:
- She has no history of dysplasia, either moderate or severe.
- She is free of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (HIV).
- Her immune system is in good shape (for example, if she has had an organ transplant).
Keep in mind that these guidelines are only for Pap smears. Women should continue to see their OB/GYN for well-woman care and any reproductive healthcare requirements on an annual basis.
Regular Pap testing is especially crucial if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Infection with HPV
- Sexual activity before the age of 18
- Multiple sex partners
- Sexual partners with genital warts or other sexually transmitted illnesses
- A personal history of an abnormal Pap test
- Cigarette smoking
- Immune weakening illnesses including HIV or immunosuppression
- Cervical cancer in the family
Women with abnormal Pap smear findings should have a colposcopy to learn more about the alterations in their cervix cells and identify whether they are malignant or pre-cancerous. Women with vaginal warts, cervicitis (an inflamed cervix), polyps, discomfort, or bleeding may benefit from colposcopy.