> Abnormal Pap smear result
Abnormal Pap smear result
If a woman receives an abnormal Pap smear result, it means that there have been found abnormal cells on her cervix. Abnormal cells may appear due to different reasons. Sometimes it happens because of an inflammation caused by a bacterial infection, for example, trichomonas, candida, gonococcus or chlamydia. If the abnormality is related only to the activity of these bacteria, usually the Pap smear result comes back normal after the present infection is treated.
Abnormal Pap smear result may be linked to the presence of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection. This virus is able to trigger changes in the cervical cells, and initiate the development of genital warts (condylomas). At the same time, some types of HPV are found to be the cause of cervical precancerous lesions called dysplasia. If not treated in time, in some cases cervical dysplasia leads to cancer. For this reason, patients having an abnormal Pap smear result should undergo HPV DNA test because it helps to evaluate their risk for cervical cancer.
In general, doctors define the management of women having an abnormal Pap smear result based on the degree of the present abnormality. In case of an inflammation, a woman should have another Pap smear in a few months, and, if necessary, get an appropriate treatment. When the Pap smear shows slight cellular changes on the cervix, doctors may prescribe to undergo a Pap smear follow-up and, sometimes, to have a colposcopic examination and HPV DNA test. A high number of abnormal Pap smears become normal on their own in several months, so treatment is not always required.
An abnormal Pap smear result may be suggestive of precancerous lesions on the cervix. However, Pap smear only identifies abnormal cells, and the size and the depth of the lesions are defined through other diagnostic procedures. Women whose Pap smear shows the presence of precancerous cells are usually referred for colposcopy (visual inspection of the cervix with a special microscope) and biopsy (taking a small piece of tissue for a histological analysis).
A Pap smear test is a simple and painless procedure which does not take much time or cause much discomfort. It is highly recommended for every woman to have a Pap smear yearly, because it is an effective tool in diagnosing cervical dysplasia and other asymptomatic vaginal and cervical diseases. Abnormal Pap smear result may be related to various conditions, and it does not signify that the woman necessarily has cancerous cells on the cervix.