My Pap Smear Results Were Abnormal—Now What?

When you go to your well-woman health exam, you’re hoping to get a clean bill of health. When you instead receive the news that you had an abnormal Pap smear result, it’s normal to feel concerned.

Fortunately, by regularly getting your Pap test at Advanced Women’s Healthcare, you’ve greatly increased the odds our doctors can treat any abnormal cells present in your cervix. Learn from our team, led by Dele Ogunleye, MD, FACOG and Lisa Emm, MD, FACOG, what an abnormal Pap smear result means and the next steps if you receive one.

What an abnormal Pap smear indicates

When you get an abnormal Pap smear result, it means our lab tests of your cervical cells showed some type of abnormality. Our team will determine the severity and possible cause of your cellular abnormalities from the sample.

Abnormal cells can be slightly to mildly abnormal, more severely abnormal and potentially precancerous, or already cancerous. Often, it’s unknown why women have slightly abnormal cells.

In other instances, you can get an abnormal test result because your uterus was inflamed or irritated at the time of testing, or your sample did not have enough cells to test.

Frequently, women also have mildly abnormal cells due to the HPV virus. HPV is an extremely common infection, but most of the time, your body fights the infection on its own. HPV has many different strains, with different risk levels for cervical cancer.

Next steps after an abnormal Pap smear

What happens next depends on the type of abnormality we found in your sample. In many cases where your abnormalities are mild or otherwise inconclusive, your body will be able to resolve the abnormalities on its own, without further treatment.

In cases of mild abnormalities, we might just ask you to come in sooner than the typical waiting period for your next Pap smear. Other times, we’ll have you take a test to determine if you have HPV and, if so, what strain of HPV you have.

With more severe abnormalities, or milder abnormalities your body hasn’t cleared on its own, we’ll ask you to come in for a colposcopy. During this procedure, our doctors inspect your cervical tissues and perform a biopsy to learn about the abnormalities in greater detail.

Abnormal cervical cell treatment 

When your abnormal cells don’t resolve on their own, our doctors perform a procedure to remove them from your cervix. Our doctors use a number of different treatments depending on your needs.

Two of the most common office-based treatments are Cryotherapy and the LEEP treatment. Cryotherapy uses a cold probe to freeze and destroy abnormal cervical cells, while LEEP works by using electrical current pulsing from a wire.

Other procedures include conization and laser therapy. Conization removes cells with a scalpel, and laser therapy involves destroying cells with light technology.

Our experienced and caring team at Advanced Women’s Healthcare is here to support and guide you if you’ve recently received an abnormal Pap smear result. We serve patients based in the greater Bloomington, Illinois area.

To schedule an appointment with our team, call our office at (309) 808-308.

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