What Can Cause an Abnormal Pap Smear? Abnormal Pap Smear, Pap Test – Tampa General Hospital. HPV and Pap Test Results: Next Steps after an Abnormal.
An abnormal Pap smear is a medical condition that is commonly reported among women. It is a type of screening test that involves the examination of cells collected from the cervix. An abnormal Pap smear can be caused by several factors, some of which are related to lifestyle choices, while others are due to medical conditions.
In this article, we will discuss the various causes of an abnormal Pap smear, along with the symptoms and treatment options available.
An abnormal Pap smear result means that there are some abnormal cells in the cervix that may indicate the presence of an infection, inflammation, or pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Some common causes of abnormal Pap smear results.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection
HPV infection is the most common cause of an abnormal Pap smear. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that affects the skin and mucous membranes of the body. The virus can cause genital warts, cervical cancer, and other types of cancer.
In most cases, the immune system clears the virus within two years, but in some cases, the virus can persist and cause abnormal cell growth in the cervix, which can lead to cervical cancer.
Symptoms of HPV infection include genital warts, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and pain during intercourse. Treatment for HPV infection includes antiviral medications, surgery, and other medical interventions.
Smoking is another factor that can cause an abnormal Pap smear. Smoking can damage the cells of the cervix and increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. Women who smoke are more likely to have abnormal Pap smears than those who do not smoke.
Symptoms of smoking-related cervical cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during intercourse, and abnormal discharge. Treatment for smoking-related cervical cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Menstruation can also cause an abnormal Pap smear. During menstruation, the cervix is more sensitive, and the menstrual blood can interfere with the collection of the cervical cells, leading to abnormal results.
It is advisable to avoid scheduling a Pap smear during your period, as this can increase the likelihood of an abnormal result. Instead, schedule the test a few days after your period ends.
Sexual activity can also cause an abnormal Pap smear. Sexual activity can cause the cervix to become inflamed, leading to the production of abnormal cells. Additionally, sexual activity can increase the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections, which can also cause an abnormal Pap smear.
It is advisable to avoid sexual activity for 24-48 hours before your Pap smear appointment. This can help ensure that the results are accurate.
Other Medical Conditions
Other medical conditions can also cause an abnormal Pap smear. These include hormonal imbalances, infections, and certain types of cancer. In some cases, the abnormal results may be due to a false positive, which can occur due to errors in the collection or testing of the cervical cells.
Treatment for an abnormal Pap smear will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, no treatment may be necessary, and the doctor may recommend monitoring the condition over time. In other cases, treatment may include medication, surgery, or other medical interventions.
In conclusion, an abnormal Pap smear can be caused by several factors, including HPV infection, smoking, menstruation, sexual activity, and other medical conditions.
It is important to undergo regular Pap smears to ensure early detection and treatment of any abnormalities. If you receive an abnormal Pap smear result, do not panic. Follow up with your doctor to determine the underlying cause and the appropriate course of treatment.