Routine visits with your Orlando OBGYN, especially ones that include pap smears, is one of the best ways you can take a proactive approach to your gynecological health. For the most part, women who undergo a pap smear rarely ever receive a call-back from their OBGYN. On occasion, however, some patients could receive a pap smear that comes back “abnormal”, which may require further testing. We understand that hearing this result can be alarming, but it’s important to understand that an abnormal pap is not always a cause for concern. The best way to determine this is by returning to the OBGYN for further testing.
What Does An Abnormal Pap Smear Result Mean?
By definition, an abnormal pap smear is when the results of your pap indicate that cells from your cervix are irregular. Typically, about 10% of pap smears return abnormal results that are usually caused by infection, or cells that are pre-cancerous or cancerous. There are several things that can cause an abnormal pap result, they include:
– Sexual activity that occurred 24-48 hours before the Pap test
– STDs (Trichomoniasis, Hermes, HPV)
– Menstrual blood
– Dysplasia (the cells that show to be cancerous or pre-cancerous)
If you have the rare experience of receiving pap results that are abnormal, your OBGYN will need to do further testing to diagnose the cause. An undiagnosed STD, for example, is something that will need to be treated right away to stop side effects or risk of spreading the infection. Your doctor may also order an additional pap smear, simply to rule out the possibility that the abnormal results were a false positive.
Additional testing may include a colposcopy, in which your cervical tissue is observed under a specific light and lens after being treated with acetic acid.
There are several steps your OBGYN will take to determine the cause of abnormal pap results, which will most likely include thorough further testing. If abnormal cells are observed, your OBGYN will most-likely decide it’s time for a biopsy. In a biopsy procedure, a small sample of tissue is removed from the area where the abnormal cells were observed and sent off to the lab for further testing. Although it may be nerve-racking, the biopsy itself is a simple procedure which may cause a small sting with some very light bleeding.
Typically, it takes roughly two weeks to receive results of the biopsy. There are many occasions when biopsy results come back perfectly normal, revealing that you are 100% healthy. Your doctor will discuss whether or not follow-up appointments, or any further treatment, will be necessary.
To get started with expert physicians that will help you take charge of your gynecological health, contact South Lake OB/GYN & Advanced Surgery today. Call 352-366-0381!