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A 23-year-old member asked:

I have had an abnormal pap smear what does that mean?

5 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Marianne DiNapoli
Dr. Marianne DiNapolianswered
Obstetrics and Gynecology 9 years experience
It depends.: A pap smear is a test used to screen for cervical cancer, where a doc takes a sample of cells from the cervix. There is a wide range of abnormal results. Some pap tests come back showing you have a virus called hpv which is extremely common in sexually active women. Pap smears can also show that the cells of the cervix themselves are abnormal, showing pre-cancerous or cancerous cells.
Dr. Marina Maslovaric
Obstetrics and Gynecology 16 years experience
HPV is very common and usually goes away by itself. Majority of women will have an HPV infection in their life, but nothing will happen. Small percentage of women develop a higher grade infection which then persists and carries a small risk of cancer. It is important to maintain PAP schedule as recommended by your doctor to keep regular surveillance. HPV is common- cervical cancer is very rare !
Feb 13, 2012
Dr. Michael Opsahl
Fertility Medicine 44 years experience
Abnormal pap: The pap smear has been one of the greatest benefits to women's health because it shows cells that may become cancer in 10-20 years if not treated. The pap also shows other findings like infection and virus (we think that hpv is the most important cause of cervical cancer). Occasionally, the pap will also show abnormal cells from the uterine lining, tubes or ovaries but rarely. Good luck.
Dr. Elena Roukhadze
Pathology 15 years experience
PAP smear: Definition of abnormal pap smear is too broad. It depends on the type of the abnormality detected. In any case any abnormal pap smear should be taken seriously and the obgyn should be contacted immediately.
Dr. Ralph Boling
Obstetrics and Gynecology 40 years experience
Can be serious: Need to be what is description of the abnormal, may need repap at intervals, or magnification viewing with a colposcope, and possible biopsy of the cervix
Dr. Karen Butler
Family Medicine 22 years experience
Depends: It depends what the pathologist has said as to why it is abnormal. In any case a follow up is needed with your doctor and further pap tests required

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Similar questions

A 47-year-old member asked:

What does it mean to have an abnormal pap smear?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 50 years experience
Depends on severity: Depending on the severity of abnormality, it may just require retesting sooner than the usual 1-3 years. Hpv testing may be warranted. If abnormality is high grade, it may require colposcopic examination and biopsy.
A 43-year-old member asked:

What could causes an abnormal pap smear?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stephen Sudler
Obstetrics and Gynecology 41 years experience
Usually HPV: A vaginal infection can sometimes be the cause of an abnormal pap smear. A cervical infection can as well (chlamydia, gonorrhea). The most common cause would be infection with human papilloma virus (hpv).
A 37-year-old member asked:

What happens when you have an abnormal pap smear?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Woods
Pathology 29 years experience
Colposcopy.: If your pap smear is abnormal, you are scheduled for colposcopy to see where the abnormal lesion is on your cervix. Acetic acid is added and the lesion shows up as a white patch. Then a procedure like cone or leep biopsy is done and this is examined by a pathologist, who evaluates the lesion. Depending on the result, the next step is determined by you and you doctor.
A 47-year-old member asked:

What does an inflamed pap smear mean?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Marina Landa
Pathology 33 years experience
Inflammatory cells: Iflamed pap smear most probably means smear reveals a lot of inflammatory cells - predominantly neutrophils. Inflammation may be seen in presence of fungal organisms and trichomanas vaginalis, or just be a sign of chronic or acute cervicitis without any microorganisms. Be well. Thank you for question.
A 45-year-old member asked:

Abnormal pap smear, should I be concerned?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Elena Roukhadze
Pathology 15 years experience
Abnormal: Depends on the abnormality detected, but the proper management should be based on pap smear results. Do not panic, but, please, do not take it lightly and talk to your obgyn doctor.

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Last updated Nov 28, 2017

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