For most women, a routine Pap smear is essential for monitoring their reproductive and overall health. The Mayo Clinic explained that a Pap test is typically done along with a pelvic exam to detect changes in your cervical cells that could be a predictor of cancer.
A Pap smear is the first step in identifying, treating and halting the development of cervical cancer, and that’s why it’s important to understand what happens if you receive atypical results. We’re here to break down what abnormal Pap smear results mean and help ease your worry with an explanation of the next steps.
Abnormal Pap smear results you should know about
When your Pap test results are normal, it means you’re all clear until your next routine exam. However, if an abnormality is detected it’s not so black and white. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, here are some of the ways abnormal test results are described and what they mean for your health:
- ASC-US is the most common abnormal test result. It indicates that changes to your cervical cells have been found and are most likely the sign of an HPV infection.
- LSIL means a mild abnormality to your cervical cells exists. It may indicate you have an HPV infection that can go away on its own.
- HSIL shows a more serious change to the cervical cells that could be linked to precancer or cancer. ASC-H may also indicate the presence of HSIL.
If you ever have a question about what your Pap smear test results mean, don’t hesitate to ask your OBGYN. They will be able to discuss what an abnormality means for your wellness and how it should be treated.
Should you be worried?
Abnormal Pap smear results can be concerning, but your OB-GYN will walk you through the next steps of treatment. Depending on the type of abnormality, your age and medical history, your doctor could prescribe a couple of different options:
- If your test result indicates a possible HPV infection or mild change to your cells, they may order another Pap test to monitor the situation or medication to help treat it.
- If cancerous cells are detected, you may need to undergo a biopsy or endocervical sampling. This allows your physicians to determine how severe the irregularities to your cervical cells are to make a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
While it’s easy to be worried about abnormal Pap smear results, always remember that they help your OBGYN be proactive about your health. Regular pelvic exams that include a Pap test ensure you get the care needed to mitigate the spread of cervical cancer.
And when it comes time to find an OBGYN you trust, turn to the experts at VIVA EVE. Our team of board-certified physicians and fibroid specialists is here to help you navigate treatment for advanced gynecological conditions. For more information on our OB-GYN services and treatment options, contact any of the specialists at VIVA EVE today.