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Abnormal Pap Smear

Pap smears are life-saving and can detect abnormalities in cervical cells, which may indicate cancer. If you have an abnormal Pap smear, the expert providers at Reston Women’s Center offer further diagnostic tests and treatment, if necessary. If you live in or near Reston, Virginia, call the office or book an appointment online to discuss your abnormal Pap smear results with the experienced team.


Abnormal Pap Smear Q & A

What is a Pap Test?

A Pap test or smear is performed during your regular gynecological exam. A provider at Reston Women’s Center takes a sampling of cells from your cervix using a swab. These cells then go to a laboratory for analysis.

When the results of the test come back “negative,” it means you have no suspicious cells. If the results come back as “abnormal,” you may need to take further tests. A “positive” reading doesn’t automatically mean you have cervical cancer; it often just shows dysplasia, which are abnormal cells, or an infection.

What Causes an Abnormal Pap Smear?

Many conditions can result in an abnormal Pap smear; it’s not just a diagnosis for cancer. These may include:

  • Herpes or trichomoniasis (STDs)
  • Infection or inflammation of the cervix
  • Recent sexual activity
  • Human papillomavirus, or HPV
  • Dysplasia, which are abnormal cells that may be precancerous

What Happens if I Have an Abnormal Pap Smear?

In some cases of an abnormal Pap smear, the team at Reston Women’s Center will want to repeat the Pap test in just a few months to confirm the findings. Abnormal cells often resolve on their own.

In some cases, the team recommends you have a colposcopy using the state-of-the-art DYSIS®machine available at Reston Women’s Center, or even undergo a biopsy, which involves removing a small amount of tissue from the cervix for further analysis.

The doctors may also recommend further testing to determine if you have a yeast infection, inflammation, or a sexually transmitted disease.

What is a Colposcopy?

A colposcopy uses a microscope to look into your cervix and detect irregularities. At Reston Women’s Center, the team uses a DYSIS machine, which guarantees accurate measurements. A colposcopy has even detected cancerous cells in women who had a normal Pap test.

Should I Be Concerned if I Have an Abnormal Pap Test?

An abnormal Pap test is not a reason to panic; one in 10 Pap tests usually come back abnormal, and most aren’t serious. But you should follow up on the results as recommended by your doctor at Reston Women’s Center.

An abnormal Pap test requires further testing, and you can trust the team at Reston Women’s Center to provide the most accurate and state-of-the-art diagnostic tests and treatment. Call the office or book an appointment online today.