Abnormal Pap Smear - Now What?

Many women will have an abnormal pap smear result at some point in their life. If you have had an abnormal pap smear, you will generally need to have a follow up pap smear within 6 months. 

Potential results of a follow up pap smear are:

- Your follow up pap smear may return to normal. 

- Your pap may remain consistently abnormal but not get any worse.

- Your pap smear may progress and require treatment.


Colposcopy is a diagnostic exam to determine the exact nature of the abnormal pap smear. During a Colposcopy and biopsy, the cervix is examined under magnification and painless solutions are applied, and if detected an abnormal area can be biopsied to make an exact diagnosis. The entire procedure is done in the office, and seems like a long pap smear. For most women it is relatively painless or feels like a quick pinch. 

Dysplasia is a pre-cancerous change of the skin of the cervix. If you have to be treated for Dysplasia, it is usually performed by a LEEP procedure which involves shaving off the abnormal skin with an electrical wire, ususally under local anesthetic. This is usually an office procedure, and is both diagnostic and curative. You can still safely have babies after a LEEP procedure. After a LEEP procedure, pap smears are usually performed more frequently for two years, and then return to yearly pap smears for a total of 20 years. The reason for such a long follow up time is that you may still have HPV present in the vagina and the dysplasia could return. 

Make sure you follow your doctors advice, and don't skip pap smears.


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