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Reasons for an abnormal pap smear

By Anonymous December 5, 2008 - 8:05pm
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During my last pap smear, I was told that some abnormalities appeared. I was a bit shaken, and they left an automated message (seems a bit cold, doesn't it?), so I can't remember exactly what they said. But they said something about "uncertain significane," "atypical," and the possibility of "HPV". But this seems very odd to me, as I have always been very cautious with my sexual activity, and have been with my fiancee for five years. Also, up until this point, my pap smear always came back clear.

So I'm wondering if there are any other reasons as to why this would come back with these results? My period was a little later than usual, and I had only just finished before the day of my appointment. Could that have made an impact? I had also forgotten about the fact that I needed to stear clear from the bathtub and not use any lotions. Could these also have been a factor?

What should I do?

Thank you so much in advance!

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EmpowHER Guest

I know it can be worrisome to have an abnormal pap smear, but it is actually pretty common. My mother and I have both had abnormal pap smears in the past and neither of us have had HPV or cervical cancer.

It is important to follow up with your doctor because there's always a possibility an abnormal pap smear can indicate either HPV or cervical cancer, but in the meantime, just do your best to think positive knowing other women have experienced the same thing you are going through with good results in the end!

Good luck, remember to breath, and stay positive!

December 8, 2008 - 2:21pm

I recently had an abnormal pap smear, this year. I had taken 2 repeated pap smear, and had the same result. The last time I had the Colposcopy, and my result was negative. I so glad that over with that, because you never know what can happen at your annual pap smear exam. So I understand some of what you went through.

December 8, 2008 - 1:51am
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks to both of you. I'm still a little scared, but I feel a little more at ease after having read this. I plan on calling my doctor on Monday and setting up an appointment. Thank you again!!!

December 6, 2008 - 9:47pm
HERWriter Guide

I would also take another test, as Virginia mentioned. These results could be false - either way, you'll have to do a bit more investigation.

HPV is very common and condoms do not offer the kind of protection they do for something like HIV because HPV is spread via skin to skin contact, and not body fluids.

Have you talked to your doctor about this yet, or arranged for another test?

December 6, 2008 - 8:10am

Dear Anon, before you get too upset and worried, call your doctor and listen to what he/she has to say. I am surprised that his office staff even left a message like the one you stated. HIPAA does not allow for any physician office to be too specific when leaving messages to patients on lab results. Make sure to bring this to the attention of the office supervisor that the message left contained too much medical information.

In regards to your question, I suggest you take a deep breath and do not worry prematurely. Pap tests are not always 100 percent correct. False positive and false negative results can happen. This can be upsetting and confusing. A false positive Pap test is when a woman is told she has abnormal cervical cells, but the cells are really normal. If your doctor says your Pap results were a false positive, there is no problem.

Having regular Pap tests boosts your chances of finding any problems. If abnormal cells are missed at one time, they will probably be found on your next Pap test.

If HPV is positive on the test, it should be easy to treat and if this is the case you need to do it sooner than later as HPV virus is linked to cervical cancer. This virus could have been present in your boyfriend's system dormant and asymptomatic, but there is always the possibility of transmission via sexual intercourse. PAP Smear test have also "False" positives and you may want to ask for a repeat test. I personally had an abnormal PAP Smear at age 29 to the point that the doctor wanted to do some invasive procedures, I refused and asked for a repeat test. This came back normal and never had an abnormal again. So,relax and talk to your doctor soon.

Here is a link you can visit and learn more about reasons for abnormal PAP Smears http://www.gynob.com/pap.htm

If an additional test finds still serious changes in the cells of the cervix, the doctor will suggest more powerful tests. Results of these tests will help your doctor decide on the best treatment. These include:

Colposcopy: The doctor uses a tool called a colposcope to see the cells of the vagina and cervix in detail.
Endocervical curettage: The doctor takes a sample of cells from the endocervical canal with a small spoon-shaped tool called a curette.
Biopsy: The doctor removes a small sample of cervical tissue. The sample is sent to a lab to be studied under a microscope.

The FDA recently approved the LUMA Cervical Imaging System. The doctor uses this device right after a colposcopy. This system can help doctors see areas on the cervix that are likely to contain precancerous cells. The doctor uses this device right after a colposcopy. This system shines a light on the cervix and looks at how different areas of the cervix respond to this light. It gives a score to tiny areas of the cervix. It then makes a color map that helps the doctor decide where to further test the tissue with a biopsy. The colors and patterns on the map help the doctor tell between healthy tissue and tissue that might be diseased.

December 5, 2008 - 10:46pm
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