Abnormal Pap Smear

OB/GYN Specialists

OB/GYNs located in Denton, TX

Understandably, you may experience some anxiety if you learn that the results from your Pap smear are abnormal, but it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. The experienced team of physicians at OB/GYN Specialists, in Denton, Texas, provides expert diagnosis and treatment recommendations for women with an abnormal Pap test. Call to schedule an appointment, or book one online.

Abnormal Pap Smear Q & A

OB/GYN Specialists

What is an abnormal Pap smear result?

Abnormal Pap smear results sometimes occur after your gynecologist performs a Pap test during a routine exam. The abnormal result indicates the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells or changes within your cervix, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. In fact, most instances of an abnormal Pap are highly treatable conditions.

Some common types of abnormal Pap results that your doctor may discuss with you include:

  • Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) reveal a slight abnormality but aren’t usually cause for concern.
  • Squamous intraepithelial lesion indicates that the abnormal cells may be precancerous.
  • Atypical glandular cells produce mucus on the opening of your cervix and indicate a need for further testing.
  • Squamous cell cancer or adenocarcinoma cells almost undoubtedly indicate the presence of cancer and further evaluation is necessary.

If the results of your Pap test are abnormal, your gynecologist may perform additional procedures, such as a colposcopy, which allows closer examination of your cervix, vagina, and vulva under microscopic magnification. They may also take a tissue sample (biopsy) from the area in question for further analysis.

What are the signs of cervical cancer?

Even if you have an abnormal Pap smear, you may not experience any signs or symptoms of precancerous cells. However, if cervical cancer progresses, and you do begin to experience symptoms, they often include:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after sex or pelvic pain
  • Unusually heavy bleeding during your periods
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Vaginal discharge

If you have a weakened immune system, you’re a smoker, or you have HPV (human papillomavirus), it may increase your chances of developing precancerous cells or cervical cancer.

When is a Pap smear unreliable?

If there is severe inflammation in your cervix, it may cause false abnormal Pap smear results. In that case, the Pap results may not be completely reliable, and your doctor determines the reason for the inflammation in your cervix. Untreated inflammation may lead to other complications unrelated to cancer and precancerous cells.

Your doctor first diagnoses and treats the underlying cause of the inflammation, and you’ll most likely repeat the Pap smear for a more accurate outcome.

If you’ve received a diagnosis of an abnormal Pap smear, or you need to schedule a Pap test, call the office, or request the next available time online.