An abnormal Pap smear can indicate cancer, but more often, it indicates another issue, like a yeast infection or HPV infection. The team at Houston Obstetrics & Gynecology offers advanced testing following abnormal Pap test results to help women in Shady Acres, Houston, TX, get the most appropriate care for their needs.
No. Although Pap tests are performed primarily to detect early signs of cervical cancer, abnormal pap smear results can be caused by many other reasons. In fact, most abnormal pap test results do not indicate cancer but occur as a result of another underlying issue like a yeast infection, HPV infection, hormonal changes, or other issues.
When a Pap test returns an abnormal result, one of two things usually occurs: A second Pap test is performed to see if the abnormal result occurs again (or if the initial result might have been due to hormonal fluctuations or another temporary issue), or a different type of exam called a colposcopy may be performed to evaluate the area where the abnormal cells were found.
A colposcopy is an exam that’s performed in the office in much the same way as a pelvic exam but with a special magnifying device called a colposcope that’s designed to enable the doctor to get a clearer view of abnormal areas of tissue on or around the cervix. During the exam, the patient lies on her back and a lubricated speculum is inserted into the vagina to gently widen the vaginal canal. A solution may be applied to the cervix and walls of the vaginal canal to help highlight abnormal cells, making them easier to see. Then the colposcope is placed at the vaginal opening (outside the vagina) and a bright light is shone into the vagina and onto the cervix. The doctor looks through the magnifying lens to examine and evaluate the cervix for any areas of abnormal tissue. If an abnormal area is identified, a small sample or biopsy of tissue may be taken for further evaluation. The tissue may be scraped away or a cutting instrument may be used to remove a layer of tissue for evaluation.
Colposcopy typically takes less than 15 minutes to perform, and women can resume their normal routines immediately afterward. There may be some mild cramping or light spotting if a biopsy is taken, but these will resolve soon afterward.
At Houston Obstetrics & Gynecology, we are dedicated to our patients' health. We accept a variety of insurance providers to make sure that all of our patients are covered. If your insurance is not listed or if you have any questions, please call our office to see how we can partner with you.
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