What Does It Tell You if You Have an Abnormal Pap Smear Test?

What Does It Tell You if You Have an Abnormal Pap Smear Test?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the causes of cervical cancer. However, getting this virus doesn’t mean you have the cancer. In fact, there’re at least 150 strains of HPV and most of them are harmless. Only some types of high-risk HPV are mainly responsible for cervical cancer. This cancer can be treated in the early stages, but it’s life-threatening in the last ones. Thus, a common question is how to detect cervical cancer early. These days, you’ve heard about a Pap smear test that helps to diagnose cervical cancer in the first stages. The Pap smear test looks for abnormal cell changes in the cervix which can develop into cervical cancer. Keep reading this article to know what it tells you if you have an abnormal Pap smear test.

Who Needs a Pap Smear Test?

The Pap smear test is a simple procedure which detects precancerous cells in the cervix. Thanks to this, cervical cancer can be diagnosed in the early stages and the survival rate will be higher. Every woman should get Pap smear test regularly between the ages of 21 and 65. You may need often get the test if:

  • You’re at high risk of cervical cancer
  • You had an abnormal Pap smear test in the past
  • Your family members have this cancer
  • You have a weakened immune system or you’re HIV positive

If you’re over 30 years old and have three normal Pap smear tests continuously, you can ask your doctor for having the test every five years. It’s also important to get HPV tests because the main cause of cervical cancer is HPV 16 and 18. Besides, certain strains of HPV like HPV 6 and 11 are mostly responsible for genital warts. So, getting HPV test and Pap smear test is necessary. Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship, you should still get this test. It’s because the HPV virus can stay dormant for years and then become active suddenly.

Learn More: HPV Tests for Women and Men

Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should get Pap smear test

Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should get Pap smear test

What Happens if You Have an Abnormal Pap Smear Test?

A Pap smear test is a little bit uncomfortable, but it’s done quickly. During the test, you lie on an examination table and your legs spread. A speculum will be slowly inserted into your vagina. This tool keeps your vagina open and accesses the cervix easily. Then, your doctor collects a small sample cervix cells to analyze.

After doing the test, you receive your result within one week or later. In many cases, you’ll get a normal result and it’s nothing to worry until your next test. However, what happens if you have an abnormal Pap smear test result. Don’t panic. The abnormal test doesn’t mean you have cancer. Test results are sometimes inconclusive. For your abnormal test, the cell couldn’t look like normal, but it couldn’t be considered as abnormal. In a few cases, a poor sample may give you an inconclusive result. This occurs if you’ve recently had an intercourse or used feminine hygiene products.

Keep in mind that an abnormal test result means some cervical cells have changed, but it doesn’t always mean you have cervical cancer. In reality, most women with abnormal tests don’t have this cancer. Your abnormal test may result from

  • Inflammation
  • Herpes
  • HPV
  • Trichomoniasis

Your doctor may explain your Pap smear test result and tell you what you should do next.

An abnormal Pap test doesn't always mean you have cervical cancer

An abnormal Pap test doesn’t always mean you have cervical cancer

What Should You Do After an Abnormal Pap Smear Test?

When you receive an abnormal Pap smear test, your doctor never immediately diagnoses cervical cancer. But she will schedule a repeat test in the near future.

In fact, cervical cancer can’t be diagnosed through a Pap test. It may take additional tests to confirm whether or not you have this cancer. If your Pap test is abnormal, your doctor may offer a colposcopy. Your doctor will use a special solution during colposcopy to distinguish between normal and abnormal areas. During the test, the doctor may collect a small piece of abnormal tissues to analyze. It can be called cone biopsy.

Then, the abnormal cells can be removed by freezing or using LEEP. Removing them can help prevent cervical cancer from developing.

In case the biopsy confirms your cancer, treatment can be suggested. But the treatment will depend on the stages as well as tumor grade.

Learn More: What Are Treatments of Cervical Cancer for Each Stage?

If you have an abnormal Pap test, addtional tests can be done to confirm cervical cancer

If you have an abnormal Pap test, addtional tests can be done to confirm cervical cancer

Tips to Reduce the Cervical Cancer Risk

A Pap smear test only helps detect abnormal pre-cancerous cells before they become cancerous. So, it’s better if you prevent the formation of abnormal cells. The following tips may help you reduce your risk of HPV and cervical cancer.

  • Get HPV vaccinated. This is a very important step on the road of preventing HPV. Because HPV causes genital warts and cervical cancer, getting HPV vaccines will lower your risk. Male from 11 years old and female from 9 years old are advised to get HPV vaccinated.
  • Practice safe sex. Remember to wear condoms every time you have sex. Reducing your sexual partners is also helpful to reduce your cervical cancer risk.
  • Get tested. You should get tested regularly, not only for cervical cancer or HPV but also for other STDs. Tell with your doctor if your family has a history of this cancer.

Learn More: When Should You Get STD Tested?

A Pap smear test is helpful to detect precancerous cells in the cervix. But if you have an abnormal Pap smear test, it doesn’t always mean that you have cervical cancer. Some additional tests can be used to help diagnose it correctly. In fact, HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer. It also leads to genital warts that can be removed with Vidarox a topical genital wart cream. Therefore, it’s important to practice the above preventive tips to reduce your risk of getting this virus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *