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Abnormal Pap Smears And HPV

Ideal Gynecology, LLC

Women’s Health Practitioners located in Atlanta, GA serving Stockbridge, Conyers, Locust Grove, Hampton, Covington, Jackson, Buckhead, Vinings, Smyrna, Roswell, Alpharetta, Midtown, and Sandy Springs, GA

An abnormal Pap smear result could mean you have precancerous or cancerous cells in your cervix that require further investigation. If you receive an abnormal Pap smear result, Lillian Schapiro, MD, and Olivia Taylor, WHNP at Ideal Gynecology, LLC, in Atlanta, Georgia, provide timely assessments and interventions to deal with the cause. They are experts in performing procedures like colposcopy to determine whether there's a problem with your cervix. Call the Atlanta, Georgia office of Ideal Gynecology, LLC, to schedule a consultation or use the online form to book an appointment.

Abnormal Pap Smears and HPV Q & A

What is the human papillomavirus (HPV)?

The human papillomavirus or HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. There are over 150 different strains of HPV. Most don't cause symptoms, but some types of the virus can cause genital warts or increase your cervical cancer risk. 

HPV 6 and 11 are most likely to cause genital warts that look like small cauliflower or mushroom growths. They might be flat or raised and are usually flesh-toned. They typically develop within a few weeks or months of exposure. 

HPV 16, 18, and 45 are the most likely to advance to cervical cancer.

How does HPV spread?

HPV spreads through skin-to-skin contact, typically during oral, vaginal, or anal sexual activities. The virus can spread through genital contact without sex, but this method of transmission is less common. A person with HPV can spread the virus even if they don't have symptoms. 

HPV doesn't spread from toilet seats, swimming pools, sharing food, or holding hands. 

What is an abnormal Pap smear?

A Pap smear is a routine screening test for cervical cancer. It involves having cells taken from your cervix and analyzed by a laboratory to see if there are any signs of changes that could indicate cancer. If your results show any changes, you have an abnormal Pap smear.

Pap smears are looking for precancerous changes caused by the HPV virus. If your Pap smear returns with an abnormal result, your provider will suggest a colposcopy to determine the extent of the cell change.

What tests would I need after an abnormal Pap smear?

One of the main tests that can find out why you have an abnormal Pap smear is a colposcopy. Your provider begins by gently inserting the appropriate size speculum into your vagina. They identify your cervix and apply vinegar, which lights up any abnormal cells.

The colposcope is a specialized microscope that gives your gynecologist a clear view of your cervix. If there are any abnormalities present, they can perform a biopsy, taking tissue samples from two areas of your cervix (the endocervix and exocervix). Sensations of pressure or cramping are normal during a cervical biopsy.

What happens after a colposcopy for an abnormal Pap smear?

For the week following your colposcopy, you should avoid:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Using tampons
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Douching
  • Heavy lifting

Ibuprofen medication can help if you have cramping after your colposcopy. You might also get a brown discharge and some light bleeding, but if you have severe cramps, heavy bleeding, or fever, you should contact Ideal Gynecology, LLC, as these aren't normal.

The biopsy samples taken during your colposcopy go to the lab for testing, which can take up to two weeks. When the results arrive, your provider at Ideal Gynecology, LLC, discusses them with you and advises you whether you need any further tests or treatments, such as a LEEP.

Call Ideal Gynecology, LLC, today to find out more about what an abnormal Pap smear means or book an appointment online.