Different Causes of Abnormal Pap Smear

December 15th, 2011 healthwiki

A pap smear is now a widely recognized and medically accepted diagnostic procedure to find out whether women of every age may have been afflicted with a disorder that they otherwise cannot see because of the virtue that it is “down there”.

“Pap” smear is short for “Papanicolaou” test, because… well, the former is just way too easy to pronounce and at least it will not give you the feeling that you are practicing in a tongue-twisting triathlon. A pap smear is a simple smear method of examining stained exfoliative cells. It has found its current and most common functions as a diagnostic tool for the detection of cancer of the cervix. However, it may also be used for tissue specimens from any organ. A smear is usually obtained during a routine pelvic examination annually beginning at eighteen years of age, which should be the ideal starting point for women everywhere to have themselves checked. This pap smear technique permits earlier diagnosis of cancer and, as of now, still contributes to a lower mortality rate from cervical cancer. The findings are then usually reported descriptively to the client or to the attending gynaecologist.

Of course, one of the most dreaded days in a woman’s health life is when her pap test results returns to her as “abnormal”. So does that mean that you—as a woman—really have something wrong with you? While pap smears are used primarily to detect human papillomavirus (HPV) and—more importantly—cervical cancer, there are still cases where “false positives” (yes, the term that is also used in pregnancies) can occur in procedure that is exact as a pap smear test.

There really are several factors on why you may have gotten an abnormal result that is not specifically caused by HPV or cervical cancer. What you can remember in these instances is that most abnormal pap smear tests do not necessarily indicate that you are already a candidate for cervical cancer. For one, you have to consider whether the medical technician who has interpreted the results of the test for you may have been really unsure of what he or she is looking at through the microscope. So, instead of “raising your hopes” up, some of them would rather make sure that you are available for a second pap smear test; thus, they will instead put a big fat “abnormal” on your result and urge you to take a second screening. At this junction, most women who usually test “positive” at the first testing have later found out that they do not harbour cancer cells at all.

Another common reason why you may have an abnormal pap smear is because you may have an infection of your cervix or your vagina, which is what the pap smear test had been sent out to do, in the first place. The most common cases of infection which have been documented for the women who tested abnormal for pap smear have more to do with an HPV infection. In that case, you can be just treated for that infection, even on an outpatient basis.

So there is a silver lining in the clouds after all. If you have been tested positive for a pap smear, you can still ask for a “second” testing, just to make sure.

Author Bio:
Dr.Alapati, the author, is a blogger who is a doctor by education. He helps people to reduce extra fat via “side effects free Liposuction” and He writes at ehealthwall.com and healthchrome.com.


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