Women are asked to have a pap smear done at least once a year with their routine examinations from the age of 21 preferably. This is to assist in detection as well as elimination of any arising health problems. There are many things that can cause a Pap smear to be abnormal thus it should not just be considered as being cancer right away. Factors to consider when a Pap smear result comes back as being abnormal will be the following:
- Have you had any sexual intercourse during the 48 hour period in advance to the Pap smear?
- Do you know if you might have an infection while going for a Pap smear?
- It is recommended not to schedule a Pap smear while you are experiencing your period as this can affect the results.
- You might have genital warts and not even be aware of them!
So there are many other causes that could lead to a Pap smear test resulting in abnormal marks showing up not only cervical cancer. With regular tests these oddities can be tested and treated accordingly. Your doctor will inform you of further tests that can be performed to determine what exactly the abnormalities are as well as the best treatment. Additional tests could include any of the following: Colposcopy, Cone Biopsy or a Leep Procedure to determine the cause of the test results more effectively.
Usually there will not even be any symptoms but results can still prove to be abnormal. It you do however show symptoms such as burning, itching, sores or a discharge showing color or giving off an odor you most likely have an infection otherwise genital warts can also be present. To get a clearer picture of what is going on plus why further testing needs to be done ask what the results are to see which of these might likely be your prognoses.
- If dried cells are found you could have an infection and a Pap smear will most likely be required within six months.
- If there are found to be white blood cells present then it usually indicates an inflammation that shows no need for concern but might warrant you to do another Pap smear at your doctor’s request.
- If the presence of Glandular cells are found your doctor is more likely to ask you to go for a Colposcopy to determine the origin of the oddities.
- If there are signs of pre-cancerous cells your test will most likely show ASC-H results. Your doctor will do more tests to determine the exact results.
- If there are signs of the HPV virus your results will show as ASC-US although it could also indicate an infection and your doctor will ask for a HPV test to be done or even a repeat Pap smear.
- If LSIL is detected then it only shows that you likely have HPV which will be determined by further tests and treated accordingly.
- If cell growth is distinctly different HSIL will most likely be the results of your Pap smear. This is an indication of pre-cancerous cell growth and a Colposcopy will be performed to get a clear indication of the degree of growth as well as treatment needed.
We tend to jump to conclusions very easily and in most cases it is the least harmful cause that shows up, so best are to stay calm and wait for more concrete results. Your doctor will also ask you to come more regularly for routing Pap smear testing for a period just to be on the safe side, but be sure to ask if you need more regular checks why your doctor feels this need to be done.