About 1 in 10 Pap smears yields abnormal results. At Comprehensive Women’s OB/GYN in Duluth and Dunwoody, Georgia, the team efficiently performs tests to ease your mind and find the reason for your positive result. To book your next Pap smear and learn more about abnormal results, call Comprehensive Women’s OB/GYN or use the online scheduling tool today.
A Pap smear, or Pap test, is part of your regular gynecological exam. You should start getting them at age 21 and have one every year after that to look for changes in the cells of your uterus. The test might be mildly uncomfortable, but it’s fast, and you can go straight home or back to work after it.
During your Pap smear at Comprehensive Women’s OB/GYN, you wear a loose-fitting gown while lying on the examination table with your legs spread apart. Your gynecologist inserts a speculum into your vagina to expand the walls for easier access to your cervix.
Once your cervix is visible and accessible, your gynecologist swiftly takes a small sample of cells from it using a brush or spatula. Then, they send it in for lab testing, and you can leave the office.
A Pap smear looks for abnormal changes in the cells of your uterus that could be precancerous. These abnormal cells are called dysplasia, and they don’t automatically mean that you have cancer, but if you leave them alone, these cell changes could develop into cervical cancer eventually.
A Pap smear screens for cervical cancer, but it doesn’t detect other types of reproductive cancer affecting the ovaries, uterus, or vagina. However, it can detect:
Abnormal Pap smear results aren’t the same as a diagnosis. Even if your Pap smear results come back as abnormal, you might not have anything serious to worry about. Pap tests can come back positive if you recently had sexual intercourse or used certain products to clean yourself.
If your Pap smear results are abnormal, a few more steps help your gynecologist determine what the problem is and how to fix it. One option is for your physician to perform a colposcopy. During a colposcopy, your provider uses a magnifying instrument to get a closer view of the cells of your cervix. When they see abnormalities, they take biopsy samples to send in for further testing.
If a biopsy also comes back abnormal, your gynecologist may order a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove these abnormal cells. During the LEEP, your gynecologist numbs the area with local anesthesia. Then, they carefully remove the abnormal cells using a wire loop that emits an electrical current.
Call Comprehensive Women’s OB/GYN or book an appointment online for your next Pap smear or to find out more about abnormal Pap smear results.