My Pap Smear Results Were Abnormal — What Now?

Getting regular Pap smears is an important preventative health measure for women 65 and under. Your Pap smear, which you get every 3-5 years depending on your age, detects abnormal or potentially precancerous cells.

Our doctors at OB/GYN Specialists support and treat women who’ve received an abnormal result on their Pap smear. If you’ve recently learned you had an abnormal result, it’s important you seek follow-up care to ensure you stay healthy.

Don’t panic

When you receive your abnormal Pap smear results, the first thing to remember is to stay calm. The vast majority of women who receive an abnormal result do not end up being diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Your abnormal Pap smear can indicate one of several abnormalities in your cervix. In some cases, you’ll have atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS), which are most often benign, cellular growths on your cervix.

If you have atypical glandular cells, that means the cells in your cervical mucus are abnormal. Our providers do further testing to determine the cause.

Occasionally, women have false abnormal results on a Pap smear because their cervix is inflamed. In this case, you’ll need to get another Pap smear after your cervical inflammation resolves.

Finally, you might have a squamous intraepithelial lesion, squamous cell cancer, or adenocarcinoma cells in your cervix. Squamous intraepithelial lesion can indicate possible precancerous cells, while squamous cell cancer or adenocarcinoma cells are usually already cancerous.

Make a follow-up appointment

Once you’ve received your abnormal Pap smear test result, call our office right away to schedule a follow-up appointment. It’s important you come in as quickly as possible in case you need further tests or treatment.

During your follow-up appointment, our doctors go over your Pap smear results and explain any abnormalities present. They’ll then recommend further testing or treatment.

At this appointment, let our doctors know if you’ve been experiencing any symptoms of cervical cancer, such as pelvic pain, unusual vaginal discharge, or unexpected bleeding between periods, after sex, or after menopause. 

Schedule any further procedures

We perform further tests to determine the nature of your abnormal cells. Frequently, we’ll ask you to come in for a procedure called a colposcopy.

Your colposcopy is similar in some ways to a routine Pap smear in that we use a speculum to access your cervix. Then the doctor views your cervix using a colposcope, while testing the tissues with a liquid solution. 

If we find any abnormal areas during the colposcopy, we take a sample of the tissue from that area and send it to the lab for analysis.

When your colposcopy or other test results indicate no concerning abnormalities, we’ll continue to monitor you during regular Pap smears. In cases where an issue is discovered, we’ll discuss it and decide on the next step.

Our doctors can help

If you’re due for a Pap test or you’ve recently received an abnormal Pap smear result and need follow-up, our caring and skilled providers at OB/GYN Specialists are here to support you. We’ll help you schedule a prompt appointment where we’ll review your results and determine what continued care will ensure your optimal cervical health.

At our practice in Denton, Texas, our doctors provide routine Pap smear tests as part of our well-woman visits, as well as follow-up care if your Pap smear results are abnormal. To schedule an appointment, contact our practice at (940) 202-0566.

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