Lakeside Obstetrics, Gynecology & Fertility
Obstetrics and Gynecologist located in Inner Richmond & Lakeside neighborhoods, San Francisco, CA
Finding out that your Pap smear is abnormal can be alarming and overwhelming. With the help of board-certified OB/GYNs Monica Hannon, MD, FACOG and Ziyad Hannon, MD, FACOG, you can receive the evaluation and treatment that you need at Lakeside Obstetrics, Gynecologist & Fertility in San Francisco. Schedule your evaluation online or call to schedule by phone.
Abnormal Pap Smear Q & A
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is a cervical cancer screening test that helps check for abnormal or precancerous cells, as well as cancer. It is a simple, in-office screening that involves gathering a small sample of cells from your cervix, which is the lowest part of your uterus.
A Pap smear often also includes a human papillomavirus (HPV) test.
Why causes an abnormal Pap test result?
Having an abnormal Pap smear is common. HPV is a viral infection that is the main cause of abnormal pap tests and cervical cancer. Any cells that are infected with HPV look abnormal under a microscope.
Your Pap test may also be abnormal due to other causes:
- Other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including trichomonas and herpes
- Recent vaginal intercourse
- Postmenopausal changes
What testing is needed after an abnormal Pap test?
It is important to remember that an abnormal Pap test is just a screening test, not a diagnosis. Your dedicated OB/GYN physicians at Lakeside Obstetrics, Gynecology & Fertility are likely going to perform additional tests such as colposcopy to find out why your Pap smear was abnormal and whether or not you need any further care.
During a colposcopy, your OB/GYN uses a specialized scope (colposcope) to inspect your cervical cells. They apply a solution to your cervix, which helps abnormal cells stand out. If needed, your OB/GYN can take a biopsy if they see abnormal tissue.
How are abnormal cervical cells treated?
If your OB/GYN determines there are abnormal cervical cells that require treatment, your OB/GYN will discuss several options.
The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) involves the removal of abnormal areas of the cervix with a thin wire that carries an electric current. This procedure is usually performed in the office under local anesthesia.
Cold Knife Conization
The conization procedure involves the removal of a cone-shaped wedge of the cervix containing abnormal cells. This procedure is commonly performed under general anesthesia in the operating room as it is a deeper biopsy that the LEEP.
Your OB/GYN may recommend destroying abnormal or precancerous cervical cells through a cryotherapy treatment. This in-office procedure involves applying liquid nitrogen to your cervix, which instantly freezes and destroys abnormal cells.
To prevent abnormal Pap smears and to lower your risk of cervical cancer, your OB/GYN at Lakeside Obstetrics, Gynecology & Fertility may also recommend getting an HPV vaccination called GARDASIL®.
Lakeside Obstetrics, Gynecology & Fertility provides comprehensive care if you had an abnormal Pap smear. Find out more information by scheduling an exam online or by calling the office location nearest you directly.
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