Advanced Gynaecological Surgery Centre
 
My Symptoms

Abnormal Pap Smear

It is important to remember that almost all abnormal Pap smear results are not due to cancer.

A Pap smear is not a diagnostic test, but is a screening tool used to detect any abnormal cells in the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus at the top of the vagina.

An abnormal smear result means that some of the cells of the cervix look different from the normal cells.  This needs either further investigation (colposcopy) or ongoing monitoring with a repeat pap smear.

Results

Low Grade Abnormalities

  • It is most likely that this is caused by HPV.
  • In many instances your body’s immune system fights this virus and your pap smear returns to normal. 
  • If your repeat pap smear abnormality persists then you would be referred to a gynaecologist for a colposcopy

High Grade Abnormalities

  • It is most likely that you have a HPV infection which has persisted and caused an abnormality
  • This may lead to cancer over many years if left untreated
  • You would be referred to a gynaecologist for a colposcopy

HPV

  • Human papilloma virus is a very common virus
  • There are more than 100 types of the virus
  • About 40 types of HPV can cause abnormal Pap smears.
  • Almost all abnormal Pap smear results are caused by HPV
  • HPV types may be "high-risk" types or "low-risk" types
  • Most types of HPV are harmless, do not cause any symptoms, and go away on their own in one to two years.
  • Anyone who has ever had sex can have HPV – 4 out of 5 people will have had HPV at some time in their lives
  • In rare cases, if left undetected, it can lead to cervical cancer – this usually takes about 10 years
  • A pap smear every two years can detect the presence of HPV which can then be monitored and/or treated to prevent cancer

It is important to have 2 yearly pap smears and always contact your GP for your results
It is imperative to follow up any pap smear abnormality with your doctor

Treatment Options