Providing Annual Pap Tests to Houston, TX Patients
A Pap test is a preventative tool used by doctors to check the cervix for abnormal cells and early signs of cancer. Most women are familiar with these tests and have visited their doctor to undergo one since they are recommended annually. If nothing out of the ordinary is found, you’ll get a call with the good results, but what happens if your doctor finds an abnormality? Abnormal Pap tests are common, so there’s no need to panic if you get a call about an abnormal result. Your doctor will walk you through the next steps of the process, as additional action will need to be taken. In the meantime, here are some important answers to some common questions women have after an abnormal Pap test.
Does an Abnormal Pap Smear Mean I Have Cancer?
Since Pap tests can be used to find cancer or identify cells that could become cancerous, many women incorrectly assume that an abnormal Pap means they have cancer. This is not the case. An abnormal Pap result can be caused by many underlying issues, such as a yeast infection, HPV infection, or hormonal issues. You shouldn’t panic. Your doctor will take the appropriate steps to ensure you stay healthy.
What Happens After I Receive the Abnormal Result?
Once your doctor discovers that your Pap test has come back abnormal, there are two courses of action. The first option is that a second Pap test is performed to see if the abnormal result occurs again. This is to check to make sure the first abnormal result was not due to hormonal fluctuations or another temporary issue. The second option is that a different type of exam called a colposcopy is performed, giving the doctor a closer look at the area where the abnormal cells were found. Your doctor will let you know which option is best for your case.
What is a Colposcopy?
This exam is very similar to a normal pelvic exam but is performed with a special magnifying device called a colposcope. This device, along with a bright light and a special solution used to highlight abnormal cells, helps the doctor get a better view of the abnormal areas of tissue on or around the cervix. If any abnormal areas are identified, a small sample of the tissue may be taken for further evaluation. This procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes, and women are able to resume their normal activities right away. Please contact us with any other questions or concerns you may have regarding Pap tests in our Houston, TX office.