Pap Smear - Houston,TX

Updated on February 03, 2010
K.R. asks from Spring, TX
11 answers

Hello Ladies,

I was recently told by my ob/gyn's nurse that my pap showed some abnormal cells on the test. I have to go back and redo the test in 6 months. At the time of the exam, my doctor mentioned some redness on my cervics. They did confirm that I didn't have an infection. What causes abnormal cells and what does that mean? Thanks!

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Austin on

I had an abnormal pap (mild dysplasia) in my mid-late 20's. I was told HPV is the most frequent cause, but I also was having some other health problems linked to my birth control pill, which I changed. It was one that was high progesterone and I had also heard high levels of progesterone were a big cause of abnormal paps in menopausal women. Regardless, treatment is usually the same. Mild dysplasia can occaisionally go away on its own and can further be linked with a depressed immune system (stress). A lot of doctors won't treat mild dysplasia, they wait to see if there are repeat abnormal paps. And as I unfortunately found out, even if they do treat it some insurances won't cover treatment at that level. Most doctors do treat moderate dysplasia and all treat anything more severe.

Treatment options include Leep, laser, and cryo - I had cryo. Doctor's may biopsy at the same time as treatment. All are for the purpose of removing or killing the abnormal cells. All are minor procedures, I'm not saying pleasant, but minor. Since my cryo roughly 8-10 years ago, I have never had another abnormal pap. Don't let the other responders scare you unecessarily Find out the degree of dysplasia by your doctor, if mild there is no problem waiting 6 months for a recheck. If moderate and you are concerned, let your gyn know and talk about options, or get a second opinion. If more severe then I would reccomend not waiting 6 months. Last, abnormal does not equal cancer, but it does mean if unwatched and untreated it could develop into pre-cancerous and beyond. Be diligent.

By the way, the reason for the HPV vaccine that recently came out is that it is the leading cause of cancer (like smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer) and that even conservative estimates are that 80 percent of women have been, are, or will be infected by HPV. Don't be afraid, but do be aware.

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answers from Kansas City on

I had three abnormal pap smears and yes it does freak you out but just make sure you go back for your 6 month one and talk to the doctor more about it. Good Luck



answers from Chicago on

I just recently went through this. I could not wait 6 months to find out if it was still abnormal so I went back after 4 months for my own peace of mine. Everything came back fine. So many little things can cause your pap to come back abnormal. Some doctors recommend going back after 3 months so if you are concerned I would just tell your doctor you would like to have it done sooner.



answers from New London on

Don't stress. I had abnormal test when I was in my early 20s and they did a retest and it was still abnormal. Then I had cells scraped and they did a biopsy and it was fine. I had to go back two more times every 6 months but those tests were clear too. And they've been clear ever since and I'm in my 30s now. So don't stress about it. If there is a problem, they will probably do cryrotherapy (sp?), which is freezing off the abnormal cells. Abnormal cells can be caused my a virus, which usually clears up on their own, that is why you'll go back in 6 months.



answers from Houston on

Hi Kim, I know it's scary when your told that something is abnormal but don't panic yet. I would go back and have another pap done immediately perhaps by another doctor. My sister had this same thing happen to her & she went for a second opinion and come to find out it was HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. They monitor her every 3 months and when cancer cells appear it is detected early and taken care of. I'm not trying to scare you, this may not be your situation but please check it out.



answers from College Station on

Hi Kimberley. Abnormal cells are not all that uncommon. Make sure that you do go back in 6 months. If you are very concerned make an appointment with another OB/GYN to set your mind at ease. Good luck.




answers from San Antonio on

Don't stress. I had one last visit and did a lot of asking and a lot of research.

A few years ago, some group of physicians changed the standard on what would be considered an "abnormal" pap. Back in the early 2000s, you had to have a certain percentage of cells come back as abnormal to have an "abnormal" pap. NOW - if they see even ONE abnormal cell, then they have you retest. And this abnormality can be caused by just about anything - if you had your period recently, sex before the exam, etc. They're just being overcautious, but 99 out of 100 times - it's nothing.



answers from Los Angeles on


I do not agree with waiting 6 months to redo the test!. Anytime there is something abnormal it should be rechecked ASAP. The first time (when I was 23) my PAP came back abnormal, they repeated the test one month later, found more abnormal cells and decided to do a LEEP procedure. You can read about LEEP on, it's bascially a more evasive removal of more skin and cells, then they do a biopsy, to make sure anything abnormal has been completely removed.

I began having abnormal PAPs in my early 20s and it was always "precancerous", however do not worry, it doesn't mean you will get cancer, or that it's even likely that you might get cancer. It just means that the abnormal cells they are seeing, are similar to the abnormal cells they see when cancer is sometimes detected in the body. After over 10 years, I have had PAPs every 6 months rather than yearly to keep on top of it. So in 20 PAPs, 5 of them have come back abnormal (one LEEP procedure done) and the other times my PAPs were totally normal.

Unfortunately there is no rhyme or reason as to why one time it's abnormal and the next it's normal. There's nothing to get alarmed about at this time, I'm sure, like me you are totally healthy. HOWEVER, you should absolutely make sure to be checked now, not in 6 months. Waiting when it comes to something medical with your body is always 'no'. Remember to be your own advocate and speak your mind when talking with your doctor.



answers from Austin on

My ob/gyn told me that abnormal cells were common and often went away by themselves. I waited until my next visit (1 year) and they were still abnormal so I had further tests and a leep. It was all fine . But, I felt comfortable with that. If you don't then please talk with your doctor and ask questions. If it is very common for abnormal cells to "slough" off after a few months than he could be saving you from unnecessary tests. If you ask questions of your doctor, you can determine your comfort level with waiting or not.



answers from Odessa on

I would look at your overall health on how aggressive you get with the treatment. If you are a smoker, under a lot of stress, and don't eat too well, be really aggressive. I had an abnormal pap in my 20s. We froze it and never had another abnormal pap. I looked up about 15 years later and a spot appeared on my vulva. We were "watching" it. I went through a stressful period in life and looked up and it had grown leaps and bounds. When I went to get the spot removed, vulvectomy, it had spread up to the clitoris. Being somewhat young, the doctor left my clitoris and lasered that part. The biopsies have all come back last stage before cancer. So I have had to have my clitoris relasered and keep a close watch on it to make sure I don't hit the cancer realm. It is my understanding that smokers have a higher rate of recurrent abnormal paps and complications. Take care of your body and take your vitamins and eat well. Stress can have as bad of an effect or worse than smoking can. The two combined, you really have to watch out.

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