CommunityHealth Fix


Abnormal results after a Pap test—What does it mean for your health?

Posted at 4:56 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 18:59:17-04

If you receive abnormal Pap test results after a physical exam with a primary care doctor or gynecologist, what does it mean and should you be concerned? A Pap test is usually performed as part of a woman’s routine checkups, as it is a way to prevent and detect cervical cancer. If your Pap test results are abnormal, that simply means the test found changes in the cells of your cervix. It is important to remember that this does not mean you have cervical cancer.

Common causes of abnormal Pap test results

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Bacterial or yeast infections
  • Menopause

What happens next if test results are abnormal?

  • Colposcopy and biopsy: Doctor examines the cells of the cervix with a magnifying tool and a small sample of tissue from the cervix may be taken to look at under a microscope
  • HPV test
  • Follow-up Pap test to monitor changes

Common treatment methods

  • Cold knife conization
  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser therapy
  • LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure)

If abnormal cells are present, your doctor will talk with you about which treatment methods are recommended for you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions and educate yourself about your results.