Understanding Abnormal Pap Smear and Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that presents in different strains. A Pap smear is a routine screening to test if you have cervical cancer. Your specialist will take cells from your cervix and analyze them in a laboratory to check if there are any signs indicating cancer. If your results indicate any changes, you have an abnormal Pap smear. These cell changes are caused by HPV that can be linked to cervical cancer. Your doctor can recommend further tests to observe the extent of cell change. Buckhead, Vinings, Smyrna, Roswell, Alpharetta, Midtown, Sandy S Abnormal Pap smears and HPV testing can help detect cell changes early enough for effective treatment.

Description of HPV

HPV is a sexually transmitted infection and is most common in the United States. There are many strains of HPV, and most do not show symptoms. Some forms can cause genital warts or increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. HPV 6 and 11 are the commonly known strains that cause genital warts. Warts look like small cauliflower or mushroom growths and may be flat or raised and mostly flesh-toned. HPV 16, 18, and 45 can advance to cervical cancer.

Ways you can transmit the HPV virus

You can spread the HPV virus through skin contact, especially during oral, vaginal, or anal sexual practices. You can contract the virus through genital contact without sex in rare cases. You can transmit the HPV virus even if you do not show symptoms. Toilet seats, swimming pools, sharing food, and holding hands cannot contract the HPV virus.

What tests will you need after an abnormal Pap smear?

Your specialist can recommend a colposcopy to determine why you have an abnormal Pap smear. Colposcopy involves your doctor inserting a speculum of an appropriate size in your vagina. The doctor will observe your cervix with a colposcope. A colposcope is a device consisting of a lens and a bright light that allows your specialist to get a detailed and better view of your cervix. Your doctor will swab your cervix with vinegar that highlights any abnormal-looking areas. The doctor will view these areas on the colposcope.

After colposcopy, avoid sexual intercourse, tampons, vigorous exercise, douching, and heavy lifting the week following the procedure. After colposcopy, you might experience cramping, but you can use painkillers like ibuprofen. You can also have a brown discharge and light bleeding. If you experience heavy bleeding and severe cramps, seek immediate medical attention.

If your doctor sees abnormalities in your cervix during the colposcopy procedure, you may need a biopsy test. Your doctor can take biopsy samples to get further information causing your cell changes. The samples can be taken from the endocervix and exocervix. You can experience pressure sensations or cramping during the cervical biopsy. The biopsy samples are taken to the laboratory for testing, which takes about two weeks. When results are out, you can discuss them with your healthcare provider and advise whether you require further tests or treatment.

Early detection of abnormal Pap smear can help treat precancerous cells to prevent severe damage. Schedule an appointment at Ideal Gynecology, LLC, to treat an abnormal Pap smear to avoid severe complications.

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