A Pap smear is an effective screening tool to identify underlying health issues that can pose a hazard to your health. But just because your Pap smear comes back as abnormal, it’s important that you don’t panic as an abnormal result can mean many things.
At The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group in New York and New Jersey, we offer preventive women’s health screenings to evaluate your health and reproductive wellness.
Our board-certified OB/GYNs specialize in Pap smears and other diagnostic screenings to identify potentially serious health issues in the earliest stage. This is when treatment is typically most effective, and we can use the least invasive techniques to improve your health.
The many reasons your Pap smear may be abnormal
A Pap smear is a minimally invasive procedure that involves swabbing your cervix, the opening of the uterus, to collect a sample of cells. The cell sample is then evaluated under a microscope to check for changes indicating a precancerous condition or cervical cancer.
An abnormal Pap smear can accurately diagnose cancer early, so we can remove the cells before they spread to other areas. But cancer isn’t the only reason why your Pap smear results may be abnormal.
Here are three other factors that can play a role in an abnormal Pap smear:
1. Recent sexual activity
Sexual intercourse before your Pap smear can cause cell changes that trigger false, abnormal results.
Your results may also be considered abnormal if you use douche products or lubricants a day or two before your test.
Bacterial or viral infections, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are a common cause of abnormal Pap smears.
Often, we screen for STDs or a yeast infection following an initial abnormal result to confirm or rule out infections.
3. Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause can be an underlying cause of an abnormal Pap smear. Additionally, a Pap smear shortly before or after your period can also cause an abnormal result.
Strategies to lower your risk for abnormal Pap smear results
There are actions you can take now to reduce your risk for additional abnormal Pap smears and cervical cancer.
Our team at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology can offer specific recommendations based on your age, health history, and lifestyle. They also provide the following strategies that support optimum health and wellness:
Practice safe sex
If you have multiple sexual partners or have sex with someone whose health history you do not know, you should use condoms. Besides abstinence, the use of condoms is the only way to protect yourself and your partner from STDs and unintended pregnancy.
Boost immunity against human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is a virus that spreads through sexual contact and can significantly increase your risk for cervical and other reproductive cancers.
We offer HPV vaccinations that provide added protection against HPV and its related health complications.
Kick your smoking habit
Smokers are more likely to develop certain types of cancers, including cervical cancer. Smoking can also lead to serious respiratory diseases and reduce your longevity.
If you’ve tried to quit on your own without success, ask our team for smoking cessation resources that can help you quit for good.
Call The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group office today to schedule a Pap smear appointment or book a consultation online.