Abnormal Pap Smears
What Is An Abnormal Pap Smear?
Did your Pap smear results come back abnormal? If so, then your physician most likely recommended getting a further evaluation to find out what might be going on. Since abnormal results could mean that there are precancerous or cancerous cells present within the cervix, you will want to discuss a more in-depth examination to check the health of the cervix. This is known as a colposcopy and is performed by a gynecologist or specially trained women's health nurse practitioner. We are here to discuss the abnormal result as well as to provide treatment options should treatment be necessary.
What happens during a colposcopy?
A colposcopy is done to further evaluate an abnormal pap smear. Your practitioner gently places an appropriate size speculum into your vagina and identifies your cervix. A cotton swab is then used to apply vinegar to your cervix. The vinegar will cause abnormal cells on the cervix to "light up". When biopsy specimens are taken, it can feel like a menstrual cramp. A liquid iron solution called Monsel's is placed over the biopsy area to stop any bleeding. Generally, the cramping resolves in a few minutes. The Monsel's solution causes a discharge that looks like coffee grounds. The discharge may last for several days to a couple of weeks. You should not put anything into your vagina for at least one week after your colposcopy. We will give you a sanitary pad to wear home after the colposcopy.
Will I need to get a cervical biopsy?
Your women's health practitioner will look at your cervix through a microscope (colposcope) and most likely take a biopsy, or tissue sample, from the cervix or vagina if there are any abnormalities detected that require further testing. If you need a cervical biopsy, our women's health specialist will use an instrument to remove a small piece of tissue from two parts of your cervix, the exocervice, and the endocervix. It’s normal to feel pressure and cramping during a biopsy.
After the biopsy, we will send your samples to a lab for testing. It can take up to two weeks to get your results. We will provide you with further instructions when you come back into our office to discuss the next step in your treatment plan. If your biopsy specimens show abnormal cells present within the cervix, further testing or treatment may be required.
Post Colposcopy Instructions: As your cervix heals from the colposcopy procedure, there may be a few normal things that you may notice.
- You may have some mild cramping which ibuprofen may help. Light bleeding and brown discharge can also be normal. Severe cramping, fever, or heavy bleeding, are not normal and you should call us if you experience these symptoms.
- You may notice an unusual vaginal discharge immediately after the procedure. This may be just the medicine we put on your cervix, which may later be yellowish-brown, thinner, and have an odor.
- You may have a heavier than usual flow with your next period.
Avoid the following for 1 week after your colposcopy:
- Sexual Intercourse
- Heavy lifting
- Vigorous Exercise
Whether you need to schedule your upcoming pap smear or you have questions about getting a colposcopy in Atlanta, GA, call Ideal Gynecology at (470) 312-3696.