Pap Smear Abnormalities
What is a Pap Smear?
Also known as a Pap test, a Pap smear is a simple procedure that looks for abnormal cell changes in the cervix. In addition to testing women for cervical cancer, a Pap smear can also detect pre-cancerous cells. This is important because these cells can be removed before they have a chance to develop into cervical cancer, making a Pap smear a potential lifesaver.
Preparing for Your Pap Test
No real preparation is necessary, but your gynecologist may have a few recommendations to ensure your results are as accurate as possible. While this test can be performed during your period, try to schedule it between periods (if possible). In addition, the following things should be avoided for two full days before your test:
Vaginal Douches, Creams, and Medicines
Feminine Hygiene Products
What to Expect During a Pap Test
A Pap smear isn’t too different from a pelvic exam. It is performed in your doctor’s office and only takes a few minutes. You will lie on the table with your feet in the stirrups, and your doctor will gently insert a speculum into your vagina. This instrument holds the walls of your vagina apart, making it easy for your doctor to see your cervix. Your doctor will then take samples of your cervical cells. These cells will be sent to a laboratory for testing.
While a Pap test may be a bit uncomfortable (the speculum may cause a sensation of pressure to your pelvic area), it is a generally painless procedure. After the test is over, you can go about your day without any restrictions.
Understanding Your Pap Smear Results
You should expect to receive your results within 1-2 weeks of your test.
If no abnormal cervical cells were discovered during your Pap smear, you are said to have a negative result. This means that no further treatment or testing is necessary until you’re due for your next Pap test and pelvic exam.
If unusual cells were discovered during your Pap test, you are said to have a positive result. Don’t panic; abnormal results do not always mean that you have cervical cancer. What it does mean is that further testing will need to be done.
Next Steps After Abnormal Pap Test Results
Your next course of action depends on the type of cells discovered in your test. An abnormal result means that some cervical cells have changed. Some common reasons for an abnormal result include:
The scale of abnormal Pap test results ranges from slightly atypical to high–grade cellular changes. Depending on your results, your practitioner will likely repeat the Pap smear or move to other diagnostic testing, like a colposcopy or endometrial biopsy. Once your doctor has the results from your diagnostic testing, he or she can inform you on the best steps moving forward.
It’s important to keep in mind that repeat testing is nothing to be alarmed about. It is common for women to have more than one Pap smear; it’s to ensure that nothing is overlooked!
Pap Tests and Pelvic Exams Near Me
If you’re looking for a gynecologist in the Livingston, NJ area, look no further! With over 40 years in practice, Dr. Quartell and his staff have performed thousands of Pap smears and pelvic exams. For more information or to schedule your appointment, be sure to contact us today.