January 18, 2021 In Medical Tips, Treatment By Florida Center for Urogynecology

Abnormal Pap Smears






  • What is a pap smear?

    • A pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It looks for abnormal cell changes on your cervix and can detect precancerous cells. A pap test can result with either normal cells, inconclusive results or abnormal.

  • If my pap smear is abnormal, does that mean I have cervical cancer?

    • An abnormal result does not mean you have cervical cancer. In most cases, it simply means some cells have changed on your cervix

      • Some causes for abnormal pap smears are inflammation, vaginal infection, STDs, and human papilloma virus (HPV).

      • The most common cause of abnormal changes on your pap smear come from HPV

  • What is HPV?

    • Human papilloma virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection and can be linked to cervical cancer. Changes to your cervical cells caused by HPV can be mild, moderate or severe

    • There is a vaccine to help prevent certain strands of HPV called Gardasil. This is recommended by the CDC for all boys and girls at ages 11-12 to ensure children are protected long before they are exposed to the virus

  • What are the next steps if my pap smear is abnormal?

    • Depending on your results, the next step is likely a colposcopy. A colposcopy is a procedure in which your provider will use a microscope to look at your cervix. A special solution is used during the colposcopy to help differentiate the normal cells vs abnormal cells. If abnormal cells are seen, a small biopsy will be taken and sent to the lab for further testing.

    • If biopsies come back negative or showing low grade changes, typically we want to allow your bodies immune system to clear the HPV virus on it’s own and will continue with yearly pap smear screenings.

    • If abnormal or precancerous cells are found, your provider will want to remove them and will decide which treatment is best for you.