Everything You Need To Know About Abnormal Pap Smears and HPV
As a woman, getting a Pap smear is a crucial part of your preventive health care routine. A pap smear is a test that detects any abnormalities or changes in the cervical cells. Abnormal results from a pap smear can be a sign of an infection, precancerous cells, or cervical cancer. One of the most common causes of an abnormal pap smear is the human papillomavirus (HPV). If Atlanta abnormal pap smears and HPV results come out as abnormal, your doctor will order further tests.
Here is everything you need to know about abnormal pap smears and HPV.
What is an Abnormal Pap Smear?
An abnormal Pap smear is a test result that indicates the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix. The test is usually done during a pelvic exam and involves collecting cells from the cervix, which are then examined under a microscope. A Pap smear is considered abnormal if the collected cells show signs of precancerous changes or if any abnormal cells are present.
What is HPV?
HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that affects millions of people worldwide. There are more than 100 types of HPV, some of which can cause genital warts or cervical cancer. In fact, HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer in almost all patients.
HPV is usually passed from one person to another during sexual contact. In most cases, the body’s immune system can clear the HPV infection on its own, but in some cases, the HPV infection can persist and cause abnormal changes in the cells on your cervix. Most people with HPV do not have any symptoms and may not even know they have the virus.
What causes abnormal Pap smear?
Abnormal cells on your Pap smear results do not always indicate you have cancer. There are many reasons why your results came back abnormal. The most frequent reason for abnormal pap smears is HPV. When an HPV infection causes changes in the cervical cells, these changes can be detected during a pap smear. Some of these changes may resolve on their own, while others may progress to precancerous cells or cervical cancer.
If you have an abnormal Pap smear result, your healthcare provider will perform further testing to determine if you have an HPV infection and what type of HPV you have. This information is important for determining the best course of treatment for you.
What to do after an Abnormal Pap Smear
Don’t freak out if your Pap smear outcomes are abnormal. It does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. However, it does mean that you need to have further tests done to determine the cause of the abnormality and to determine the best course of action.
Your doctor may recommend a colposcopy, which is a procedure that allows for a closer examination of the cervix using a magnifying instrument. Also, your doctor may perform a biopsy during this procedure to determine if any precancerous changes are present. In some cases, further treatment, such as a LEEP procedure or cryotherapy, may be recommended to remove the abnormal cells and prevent the progression of the condition.
Call Ideal Gynecology, LLC, to learn more about abnormal pap smears and HPV.