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What do they look for in a pap smear: What Should I Know About Cervical Cancer Screening?


What Happens During a PAP Smear

Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team. Updated on May 8, 2021

What is a Pap Smear?

For those of you that have never heard of a PAP (Papanicolaou) smear, let me share with you about what goes down… Pap smear = Pap test. This procedure usually checks for cervical cancer or other abnormalities in your cervix. Pap smear tests are usually classified as preventative medicine, which is important for checking your health.

Cells are scraped from the opening of the cervix and examined under a microscope to see if there are any abnormal cells. FYI: the cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens at the top of the vagina.

What does a pap smear test for?

A pap smear checks for cervical cancer. More specifically, they are implemented to proactively identify the individual’s risk of developing cancer by screening for precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix. Precancerous cells have the potential to turn into cancer if left untreated. Although pap smears can identify HPV, it can’t identify other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Furthermore, if you want to get tested for STIs, you need additional tests. Additionally, pap smears do not detect the presence of all types of cancer related to reproductive health (i.e. ovarian cancer). With that said, it is necessary to get regular check-ups with your gynecologist to screen for additional health conditions.

How is a pap smear done?

Before a pap smear begins, you must be in the correct position – sitting on a table and placing your feet in stirrups. This may feel a bit awkward, but all individuals who have gotten a pap smear have experienced it. The position allows the doctor to get a better view of your cervix. 

Once you slide your feet into the stirrups, the doctor will likely tell you to try to relax and take some deep breaths. From there, they gently place an instrument called a speculum into the vagina. By opening the vaginal canal, they are better able to insert a swab to collect cells from the cervix, which are sent to a lab for examination. While this experience typically isn’t painful, it may feel slightly uncomfortable, and that is okay!

If you are nervous for your pap test, communicate this emotion with your doctor. This will serve as a reminder for them to be extra gentle and explain each step of the process before starting. Being that many individuals feel anxious prior to their first exam, the doctor will likely be very understanding – if they aren’t, you may want to find a new doctor that better meets your needs. 

When to schedule a pap test?

While you can get a pap smear during your period, the blood could make the results less accurate. Furthermore, it is a good idea to schedule your appointment on a day when you do not have your period. Other than that, you are free to book a time that works best for your schedule – though it may be a good idea to take the day off of work so that you feel as relaxed as possible during the exam.  

Pap Tests & STIs

Can a pap smear detect STIs?

A pap smear is not a comprehensive STI check. However, you may be able to ask for a test so you can have it done on the same day as your exam. But even if this can’t be done, you should still get tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV at least once a year in order to protect both yourself and any sexual partners! All of these should be covered under your insurance. 

What about HPV?

The main purpose of a pap smear is to test for cervical cancer or cancer cells in women. However, it can also detect the presence of Human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common STI in the US. HPV is a virus that enters cells and causes them to change, potentially leading to cervical cancer. If the results from both your pap smear and HPV test are negative, your doctor might let you know that you can wait five years until your next screening.

Ages & Pap Smears

What age should you get a pap smear?

Pap screening should start at age 21 and then take place every three years if the initial test comes back negative. If you are on birth control you still need to go every three years. If you are over the age of 30 and both your pap smear and HPV test results are normal (a.k.a co-testing), you can start getting tested every five years. 

At what age can you stop having pap smears?

Most women can stop getting pap tests between the ages of 65 and 70 as long as they had three negative tests within the past 10 years. Additionally, women who have their cervix removed do not need to get a pap smear. If you are unsure about your status, check with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re in the clear. 

Who needs pap smears more often?

Your physician might suggest that you get tested more frequently if you’ve previously had positive test results, you have HIV, or you have a weakened immune system due to other health conditions. 

What do the Results of Pap Tests Mean?

Pap test results usually come out in the form of positive (abnormal) or negative (normal). Positive results indicate the presence of abnormal or precancerous cells. Negative results indicate the presence of normal cells in your cervix. 

If your test comes back negative, your chance of getting cervical cancer in the next few years is on the lower side.  If this is the case, you don’t need additional testing until your next pap smear in three years. 

If your test comes back positive, there might be abnormal or precancerous cells in your cervix. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer, but it could indicate a higher risk due to changes in the cells. Depending on the type of cells found, your physician may order additional tests (i.e. colonoscopy or biopsy). 

How accurate are pap smear results?

The results from a pap smear are very accurate. Although the procedure might be uncomfortable, it can prevent other health issues in the long run. With that said, it is necessary to start getting them at age 21 (or later if you are not sexually active by 21). The earlier an issue is detected, the more likely you will be to find effective treatment.  

What’s the takeaway?

Pap smears are something that all people with uteri experience. While they may cause some initial nerves, once you get through the first exam, the more comfortable and prepared you will be in the future. 

Being that a pap smear is something that so many individuals undergo at some point throughout their life, the experience is nothing to feel ashamed of. Instead of stigmatizing these regular check ups that are simply done to ensure a healthy reproductive system, we might as well embrace them! 

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare for a pap smear?

While there is not much to do prior to a pap smear, there are a few steps you can take to ensure an effective, efficient appointment. First, try to schedule your test on a day when you do not have your period. Additionally, try to avoid having penetrative sex, douching, or placing anything (i.e. creams or meds) up to two days before your appointment. 

How long does a pap smear take?

Typically, a pap smear only takes around 10 to 20 minutes. With that said, you may want to block off extra time in case you need to fill out any intake paperwork or want to ask your doctor questions. 

How much does a pap smear cost?

While health insurance usually covers pap smears, as they are classified as a preventative health exam, you may have a copay of $30-$80 depending on the provider. If you don’t have insurance, look for programs that offer free or low-cost pap smear testing near you. 

How long does it take to get pap smear results?

After a pap smear, the doctor who conducted the exam sends the cell samples to a lab for analysis. It typically takes one to three weeks for the results to come in. These will typically be posted on your patient chart or verbally provided via phone call from your doctor’s office. If you don’t receive your results after three weeks, call your doctor to ask about any updates. 

Is a pap smear painful?

Pap smears shouldn’t hurt, but they might feel uncomfortable. Some describe it as a minor pinch whereas others don’t feel anything at all. Everyone has a different level of pain tolerance, but the consensus is that it should not be extremely painful. If it is, let your doctor know. 

You can also lessen or prevent potential pain by using the restroom and emptying your bladder beforehand. You can even take an over-the-counter pain medication (i.e. ibuprofen) an hour or so before the exam. 

Are there risks to pap smears?

Although pap smears usually detect the presence of abnormal cells, there is a possibility that some cells are missed. Furthermore, getting tested regularly can increase the chances of detecting abnormalities. 

How to reduce the risk of getting cervical cancer?

The best ways to reduce your chances of getting cervical cancer are getting the HPV vaccine and going in for regular pap smears. 

Here are some additional steps you can take to lower your risk for getting cervical cancer:

  • Use condoms to prevent STIs.
  • Get tested for STIs/STDs regularly if you’re sexually active. Make sure your partner gets tested regularly too.
  • Limit your number of sex partners.
  • Don’t douche (this gets rid of beneficial bacteria in your vagina).

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider before starting or changing treatment.

Pap Test | Cancer.Net

Listen to the Cancer.Net Podcast: Pap Test–What to Expect, adapted from this content.

A Pap test is the most common test used to look for early changes in cells that can lead to cervical cancer. This test is also called a Pap smear. It involves gathering a sample of cells from the cervix. The cervix is the part of the uterus that opens to the vagina.

The sample is placed on a glass slide or in a bottle containing a solution to preserve the cells. Then it is sent to a laboratory for a pathologist to examine under a microscope. A pathologist is a doctor who specializes in reading laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease. A pathologist can identify abnormal cells by looking at the sample.

Abnormal cells can be cancerous, but they are most often treatable, precancerous cellular changes, rather than cervical cancer. Some of the cells collected from the cervix during a Pap test may also be tested for human papillomavirus, also called HPV. Infection with HPV is a risk factor for cervical cancer. HPV is most commonly passed from person to person during sexual activity. There are different types, or strains, of HPV. Some strains are more strongly linked with certain types of cancer.

Your health care provider may test for HPV at the same time as a Pap test. Or you may need testing for HPV only after Pap test results show abnormal changes to the cervix. HPV testing may also be done separately from a Pap test. Learn more about HPV and cancer.

How often you need to have a Pap test depends on your age, results of previous tests, and other factors. Learn more about cervical cancer screening guidelines.

Who performs my Pap test?

A gynecologist typically performs a Pap test. A gynecologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating diseases of a woman’s reproductive organs. Sometimes other health care providers perform Pap tests. This may include primary care doctors, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners. If the person performing the test is a man, a female assistant or nurse may also be in the room.

If the results of the Pap test show cervical cancer, your health care provider will refer you to a gynecologist or an oncologist. An oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.

How should I prepare for a Pap test?

To ensure that the Pap test results are as accurate as possible, do not have sexual intercourse for 2 to 3 days before the test. Also, to avoid washing away abnormal cells, do not use the following for 2 to 3 days before the test:

The best time to schedule your Pap test is at least 5 days after the end of your menstrual period. A Pap test can be done during your menstrual period, but it is better to schedule the test at another time.

During the Pap test

Your health care provider will perform the Pap test during a pelvic exam in a private room in his or her office. It takes only a few minutes. The test may be uncomfortable, but it is not usually painful. You may experience less discomfort if you empty your bladder before the examination. Also, try taking deep breaths and relaxing your muscles during the procedure.

When you arrive for your Pap test, your health care provider may ask you some basic questions related to the test. These may include:

  • Are you pregnant?

  • Do you use birth control?

  • What medications have you taken recently?

  • Do you smoke?

  • When was your last menstrual period, and how long did it last?

  • Do you have any symptoms, such as itching, redness, or sores?

  • Have you had surgery or other procedures on your reproductive organs?

  • Have you ever had abnormal results from a previous Pap test?

Before the procedure, you may need to change into a hospital gown in a private area or when your health care provider leaves the room. During the procedure, you will lay on your back on the exam table with your heels in the stirrups at the end of the table.

Next, your health care provider performing the exam will gently insert a lubricated plastic or metal instrument into your vagina. This tool, called a speculum, slowly spreads apart the vaginal walls. It may cause some discomfort.

After a visual inspection of your cervix, your health care provider will use a cotton swab or a cervical brush to gently scrape cells from 2 places on the cervix:

  • The ectocervix, which is the part closest to the vagina

  • The endocervix, which is the part next to the body of the uterus. This area is called the transformation zone, and it is the location where cervical cancer typically develops.

You may feel pulling or pressure during the collection of the cells, but it typically does not hurt.

Your health care provider will smear the cells onto a glass microscope slide or put the cells into a container with liquid that preserves the sample. He or she will then send the sample to a pathologist for evaluation.

After a Pap test

You can resume your normal activities right after having a Pap test. You may have a small amount of vaginal bleeding after your Pap test. But tell your health care provider if you experience excessive bleeding.

If the Pap test shows abnormal cells and an HPV test is positive, your health care provider may suggest one or more additional tests. The Pap test is an excellent screening tool, but it is not perfect. Sometimes the results are normal even when abnormal cervical cells are present. This is called a “false negative” test result.

Regular screening is important. Talk with your health care provider about how often you should have a Pap test. Research shows that almost all cervical changes can be found with regular screening and treated before they become cancerous.

Questions to ask your health care team

Before having a Pap test, consider asking the following questions:

  • Who will perform my Pap test?

  • Should I also be tested for HPV?

  • When will I get the test results?

  • Who will explain the results to me?

  • What will happen if the test results are abnormal or unclear?

  • What further tests will be necessary if the test results indicate cancer?

  • After this test, when should I have my next Pap test?

Related Resources

Cancer.Net Podcast: HPV and Cancer

Cancer Screening

More Information

National Cancer Institute: Pap and HPV Testing

How often do I need a Pap smear?

Q-and-A with Margot Watson, M.

D., Signature OB/GYN

A Pap smear is used to screen women for cervical cancer. Years ago, women had a Pap smear at each annual visit, but today Pap smears have improved and we know cervical cancer takes many years to develop. Women should start Pap smear screening at age 21. Between the ages of 21-29, women whose Pap smears are normal only need it repeated every three years. Women ages 30 and over should have testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV) with their Pap smear.  HPV is the cause of cervical cancer. Women under age 30 are not tested for the virus because 80 percent of sexually active women will have this virus. Most women clear it once they are in their 30s. Once we confirm that the virus is not present, that patient can extend the duration between her Pap smears even further, to every five years (though she should still have an annual gynecological exam). In the event that we do detect precancerous cells on a woman’s cervix, or if she tests positive for HPV, she will need more frequent testing.

We strongly recommend that both girls and boys be vaccinated against HPV at age 12. We can make cervical cancer much less common in just one generation!

Pap smears typically continue throughout a woman’s life, until she reaches the age of 65, unless she has had a hysterectomy. If so, she no longer needs Pap smears unless it is done to test for cervical or endometrial cancer). At that point, if a patient has had two normal Pap smears in the past 10 years and she has not had any seriously precancerous cells in the past 20 years, she can stop screening altogether.

Signature OB/GYN follows these standards, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. We ensure that our patients are undergoing all of the tests they should have, but we also want to make sure patients are not undergoing tests that aren’t necessary. We educate our patients and encourage them to ask us questions, so that they are clear on what tests they should have done, at what age, and  why.     

My Pap Test Was Abnormal: Now What?

Nobody loves getting a Pap test, also known as a Pap smear. The stirrups, the cold speculum, that feeling of total exposure — it ranks right up there with bathing suit shopping and root canals. Still, it’s essential. A regular Pap smear at your gynecologist’s office can detect abnormal cells that could lead to cervical cancer. 

“The good news is that we can actually prevent people from getting cancer because these cellular changes happen over several years. With a Pap test, we can treat abnormal cells before they progress to cancer,” says Jenell Coleman, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the Women’s Health Center, Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Colposcopy Clinic.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the following:

  • Women ages 21 to 29 should get a Pap test every three years
  • Women ages 30 to 65 should have a Pap test combined with an HPV test every five years.  
  • Some women with certain conditions may need more frequent testing, including women with a history of cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS or a weakened immune system. 

What Happens After an Abnormal Pap Test?

If your Pap test results are abnormal, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy. If you’re told that you need a colposcopy, don’t panic, says Coleman. 

“Women come to me saying, ‘Oh, my gosh. I could have cancer!’ But most women do not have cancer when they come in for a colposcopy. I’ve done hundreds of colposcopies, and I’ve diagnosed less than a handful of cervical cancers,” she adds. 

The routine is similar to a Pap smear. But this time, your doctor will use a magnifying lens to look at your cervix in order to see abnormal cells. This is done by swiping the area with acetic acid, which turns abnormal areas white. At Johns Hopkins, doctors also use a digital colposcopy system called DYSIS to further pinpoint the exact location of changing cells. This makes diagnosis even more precise. 

Once abnormal cells are identified, your doctor performs a biopsy, taking a small amount of tissue for testing. You’ll feel a pinch, nothing more. Then, your cells are off to the lab for analysis. You might experience some mild cramping after colposcopy, but that’s it. “Most women tell me, ‘That wasn’t as bad as I thought!’” says Coleman. 

Treatment Options After an Abnormal Pap Test

When your colposcopy is complete and your biopsy results are finalized, your doctor will explain the changes in your tissue sample. Sometimes, those changes are low-grade. This means you can watch and wait. Low-grade cervical changes are unlikely to become cervical cancer. If the changes are moderate- to high-grade, your doctor will evaluate more options. These changes create a higher risk of cervical cancer.

If there are moderate to severe changes in your cervix, your doctor may want to remove the cervical tissue. Typically, your doctor will use the Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP), or perform a cold knife cone biopsy as a minor surgical procedure.  

Be sure to always bring up any questions you may about you Pap test with your gynecologist. 

Pap Tests: When you need them and when you don’t

Pap Tests: When you need them and when you don’t

A Pap test is a test of cells of the cervix. The cervix is the opening between the vagina and the uterus. The Pap test looks for cells that are not normal and can cause cervical cancer.

You may receive a regular pap test if you are between the ages of 21 to 69 – but it may not always be necessary. Here’s why:

Pap tests usually don’t help if you are low-risk.

Many people have a very low risk for cervical cancer.

  • Cervical cancer is rare if you are younger than 21, even if you are sexually active. Abnormal cells in this age group usually return to normal without treatment.
  • Cervical cancer is rare if you are over 69 and have had regular Pap tests with normal results.
  • Pap tests are not useful for anyone who has had their cervix removed during a hysterectomy, unless the hysterectomy was done because there were cancer or pre-cancer cells in the cervix.

Pap tests can have risks.

A Pap test can be uncomfortable and cause a little bleeding.

The test may show something that does not look normal but would go away on its own. Abnormal results cause anxiety. And they can lead to repeat Pap tests and follow-up treatment that you may not need.

So, when do I need a Pap test?

That depends on your age, your medical history, and your risks.

  • Ages 21 to 29: Most provincial and territorial guidelines recommend that if you are at least 21 years of age and are sexually active you should have a Pap test every three years.
  • Ages 30 to 69: The guidelines from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care and others say that you should have the Pap test every three years.
  • Age 70 or older: You do not need any more Pap tests if your three previous tests have been normal.

How can you protect yourself against cervical cancer?

The best way to protect yourself against cervical cancer is to protect yourself against human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer.

Get the HPV vaccine.

  • The HPV vaccine is recommended for people before becoming sexually active, usually around age 11 or 12.
  • If you have not been vaccinated and are sexually active, speak with your health care provider about the vaccine.
  • You will still need regular Pap tests because the vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cancer.

Reduce your risk.

  • Use condoms. Condoms help reduce the risk of getting HPV. You are less likely to be infected and to infect partners. However, condoms do not prevent all infections.
  • Use spermicidal gels. They also help protect against HPV.
  • If you feel you are at risk for a sexually transmitted infection, you should visit your health care provider for testing and an examination.

Don’t smoke. The risk of developing cervical cancer increases with the length of time if you smoke and the number of cigarettes smoke per day.

Take these steps to make your Pap test as accurate as possible.

  • Make your appointment for at least five days after your menstrual period stops.
  • For 48 hours before the test: Do not have sex, and do not use douches, tampons, birth control foams or gels, vaginal creams, moisturizers or lubricants, or vaginal medicines.

Understanding HPV and Pap Test Results

Most women who receive abnormal cervical cancer screening results either have human papillomavirus (HPV) infections or have early cell changes that can be monitored (since they often go away on their own) or treated early (to prevent the development of cervical cancer). The information on this page can help you to learn more about abnormal cervical cancer screening results and follow-up tests and treatments.

On This Page

HPV Infection

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are a group of related viruses, some of which are spread through sexual contact. Some of these HPV types, called high-risk HPV, cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer. They can also cause anal cancer, penile cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, and oropharyngeal cancer (cancer in the throat, usually the tonsils or the back of the tongue). 

Learn more about how HPV causes cancer in HPV and Cancer.

HPV Test and Pap Test

The HPV test and the Pap test are two different cervical cancer screening tests. Screening means checking for a disease or for changes that may develop into disease before there are symptoms. Women need routine cervical cancer screenings even if they feel fine. Screening can help find changes in cervical cells so you can receive the proper follow-up care and treatment you need to stay healthy. 

The HPV test checks cells for infection with high-risk HPV types.

The Pap test (also called a Pap smear or cervical cytology) collects cervical cells and looks at them for changes caused by HPV that may—if left untreated—turn into cervical cancer. It can also detect cervical cancer cells. A Pap test also sometimes finds conditions that are not cancer, such as infection or inflammation.

The HPV/Pap cotest uses a Pap test and HPV test together to check for both high-risk HPV and cervical cell changes.

What to Expect During an HPV or Pap Test

The cervix is part of the female reproductive system. It’s the lower, narrow end of the uterus, which leads to the vagina, as shown in the image above. The cervix opens during childbirth to allow the baby to pass.

Both types of cervical cancer screening tests are usually done during a pelvic exam, which takes only a few minutes. During this exam, you lie on your back on an exam table, bend your knees, and put your feet into supports at the end of the table. The health care provider uses a speculum to gently open your vagina in order to see the cervix. A soft, narrow brush or tiny spatula is used to collect a small sample of cells from your cervix. 

The sample of cervical cells is sent to a lab, where the cells can be checked to see if they are infected with the types of HPV that cause cancer (an HPV test). The same sample can be checked for abnormal cells (a Pap test). When both an HPV test and a Pap test are done on the same sample, this is called HPV/Pap cotesting.

A pelvic exam may include more than taking samples for an HPV and/or Pap test. Your health care provider may also check the size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries and feel for any lumps or cysts. The rectum may also be checked for lumps or abnormal areas. Most health care providers will tell you what to expect at each step of the exam, so you will be at ease. You may also ask to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Where to Get Cervical Cancer Screening: Clinics that Offer Screening

Doctors’ offices, clinics, and community health centers offer HPV and Pap tests. Many women receive these tests from their ob/gyn (obstetrics/gynecology) or primary care provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider or doctor you see regularly, you can find a clinic near you that offers cervical cancer screening by contacting:

Questions to Ask Before and After Your Exam

Before Your Exam:

Ask your health care provider:

  • What tests will I have?  
  • What is the purpose of these tests?
  • What will happen during the exam?
  • Will I have any discomfort?

Your health care provider may ask you:

  • What was the start date of your last menstrual period?
  • When did you have your last cervical cancer screening test? 
  • Have you ever had any abnormal test results or treatment for abnormal cells on your cervix?
After Your Exam:

Ask your health care provider:

  • When will I get my test results? 
  • How will I get these results (e.g., by mail, online, or a phone call)?
  • What phone number should I call if I do not get my test results?
  • When I get my results, will they explain what I should do next?

Screening Guidelines: When and How Often to Get Screened for Cervical Cancer

Cervical screening recommendations have been developed by several organizations, including the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and others. 

The details of the recommendations vary, but all are based on research findings, including:

  • HPV-caused changes in cervical cells happen slowly and often go away on their own, especially in younger women
  • more effective screening tests 
  • the harms of overtesting and overtreatment for cervical changes that would have gone away on their own

Age 21–29 years: USPSTF recommends that women get their first Pap test at age 21 and have Pap testing every 3 years. Even if a woman is already sexually active, Pap tests are not recommended until the age of 21.

Age 30–65 years: USPSTF recommends that women in this age group be screened for cervical cancer using one of these methods:

  • HPV test every 5 years
  • HPV/Pap cotest every 5 years
  • Pap test every 3 years

ACS has recently published updated cervical cancer screening guidelines that recommend women start screening at age 25 with an HPV test and have HPV testing every 5 years through age 65. However, testing with an HPV/Pap cotest every 5 years or a Pap test every 3 years is still acceptable. To read about the reasons for the changes, see ACS’s Updated Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines Explained.

Older than 65 years: Women in this age group should talk with their health care provider to learn if screening is still needed. If you have been screened regularly and had normal test results, your health care provider will probably advise you that you no longer need screening. However, if your recent test results were abnormal or you have not been screened regularly, you need to continue screening beyond age 65.

Exceptions to the Guidelines

Your health care provider may recommend more frequent screening if you:

  • are HIV positive
  • have a weakened immune system
  • were exposed before birth to a medicine called diethylstilbestrol, (DES) which was prescribed to some pregnant women through the mid 1970s
  • had a recent abnormal cervical screening test or biopsy result
  • have had cervical cancer

Women who’ve had an operation to remove both their uterus and cervix (called a total hysterectomy) for reasons not related to cancer or abnormal cervical cells do not need to be screened for cervical cancer. However, if your hysterectomy was related to cervical cancer or precancer, talk with your health care provider to learn what follow-up care you need. Women who’ve had an operation to remove their uterus but not their cervix (sometimes called a partial or supracervical hysterectomy) should continue routine cervical cancer screening.

HPV Test Results: What a Positive or Negative Result Means

HPV test results show if high-risk HPV types were found in cervical cells. An HPV test will come back as a positive test result or a negative test result:

  • Negative HPV test result: High-risk HPV was not found. You should have the test again in 5 years. You may need to come back sooner if you had abnormal results in the past. 
  • Positive HPV test result: High-risk HPV was found. Your health care provider will recommend follow-up steps you need to take, based on your specific test result.   

HPV test results usually come back from the lab in about 1–3 weeks. If you don’t hear from your health care provider, call and ask for your test results. Make sure you understand any follow-up visits or tests you may need.

What does it mean if a woman has a positive HPV test after years of negative tests?

Sometimes, after several negative HPV tests, a woman may have a positive HPV test result. If you have a new sexual partner, this is most likely a new infection. If you do not have a sexual partner, or if you are in a monogamous relationship, this is not necessarily a sign of a new HPV infection, and it doesn’t mean that your partner has a new sexual partner. Sometimes an HPV infection can become active again after many years. Some other viruses behave this way as well; for example, the virus that causes chickenpox can reactivate later in life to cause shingles. 

There is no way to tell whether a newly positive HPV test result is a sign of a new infection or a reactivation of an old infection. Researchers don’t know whether a reactivated HPV infection has the same risk of causing cervical cell changes or cervical cancer as a new HPV infection.

Pap Test Results: What a Normal, Abnormal, or Unsatisfactory Result Means

Pap test results show if cervical cells are normal or abnormal. A Pap test may also come back as unsatisfactory.

  • Normal Pap test results: A normal test result may also be called a negative test result or negative for intraepithelial lesion or malignancy. If only the Pap test was done, you should have the next test in 3 years. If the Pap test was done together with an HPV test (this is called a Pap/HPV cotest), you can have the next test in 5 years. You may need to come back sooner if you had abnormal results in the past.
  • Abnormal Pap test results: An abnormal test result may also be called a positive test result. An abnormal test result does not mean you have cervical cancer. Possible abnormal findings on a Pap test include ASC-US, AGC, LSIL, ASC-H, HSIL, AIS, or cervical cancer. Your health care provider will recommend follow-up steps you need to take based on your specific test result and your past test results.
  • Unsatisfactory Pap test results: The lab sample may not have had enough cells, or the cells may have been clumped together or hidden by blood or mucus. Your health care provider will usually ask you to come in for another screening test in 2 to 4 months.  

Pap test results usually come back from the lab in about 1-3 weeks. If you don’t hear from your health care provider, call and ask for your test results. Make sure you receive your test results and understand any follow-up visits or treatments that you need.

  • Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance (ASC-US) is the most common abnormal Pap test finding. It means that some cells don’t look completely normal, but it’s not clear if the changes are caused by HPV infection. Other things can cause cells to look abnormal, including irritation, some infections (such as a yeast infection), growths (such as polyps in the uterus), and changes in hormones that occur during pregnancy or menopause. Although these things may make cervical cells look abnormal, they are not related to cancer. Your health care provider will usually do an HPV test to see if the changes may be caused by an HPV infection. If the HPV test is negative, estrogen cream may be prescribed to see if the cell changes are caused by low hormone levels. If the HPV test is positive, you may need additional follow-up tests. 
  • Atypical Glandular Cells (AGC) means that some glandular cells were found that do not look normal. This can be a sign of a more serious problem up inside the uterus, so your health care provider will likely ask you to come back for a colposcopy. 
  • Low-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions (LSIL) means that there are low-grade changes that are usually caused by an HPV infection. Your health care provider will likely ask you to come back for additional testing to make sure that there are not more serious (high-grade) changes. 
  • Atypical Squamous Cells, cannot exclude HSIL (ASC-H) means that some abnormal squamous cells were found that may be a high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), although it’s not certain. Your health care provider will likely ask you to come back for a colposcopy.
  • High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions (HSIL) means that there are moderately or severely abnormal cervical cells that could become cancer in the future if not treated. Your health care provider will likely ask you to come back for a colposcopy. 
  • Adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS) means that an advanced lesion (area of abnormal growth) was found in the glandular tissue of the cervix. AIS lesions may be referred to as precancer and may become cancer (cervical adenocarcinoma) if not treated. Your health care provider will likely ask you to come back for a colposcopy. 
  • Cervical cancer cells (squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma) are sometimes found on a Pap test. However, this finding is very rare for women who have been screened at regular intervals. You can learn more about cervical cancer, including staging and treatment options, in Cervical Cancer Treatment (PDQ ®). 

These images show how cervical cells that have long-lasting infections with high-risk HPV can change over time and become abnormal. Abnormal cervical cells may also return to normal even without treatment, especially in younger women. LSIL and HSIL are two types of abnormal changes to cervical squamous cells.

Follow-up Tests and Procedures after an Abnormal Pap or HPV Test

Keep in mind that most women with abnormal cervical screening test results do not have cancer. However, if you have an abnormal test result, it’s important to get the follow-up care that your health care provider recommends. 

Next Steps after an Abnormal Pap Test, HPV Test, or HPV/Pap Cotest

Until recently, follow-up recommendations were based on the results of a woman’s most recent screening test. However, updated ASCCP risk-based management consensus guidelines advise a more tailored approach to follow-up care. 

What these updated guidelines mean is that, in addition to your current Pap, HPV, or cotest screening result, your health care provider will consider additional factors when recommending follow-up care, including:

  • previous screening test results,
  • previous treatments for precancerous cervical cell changes, and 
  • personal health factors, such as your age.

Based on your individual risk of developing severe cervical cell changes that could become cervical cancer, you may be advised to:

These updated guidelines focus on detecting and treating severe cervical cell changes that could develop into cervical cancer while also decreasing testing and treatment for less severe conditions (low-grade cervical cell changes). 

Colposcopy and Biopsy

Colposcopy and biopsy are two procedures that allow a closer look at the cells of your cervix.

During a colposcopy your health care provider inserts a speculum to gently open the vagina and view the cervix. A vinegar solution will be applied to the cervix to help show abnormal areas. Your health care provider then places an instrument called a colposcope close to the vagina. It has a bright light and a magnifying lens and allows your health care provider to look closely at your cervix. 

A colposcopy usually includes a biopsy. A small piece of cervical tissue will be removed, or a procedure called endocervical curettage will be used to take a sample of abnormal tissue from the cervix. These cervical cells are then checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

Talk with your health care provider to learn what to expect during and after your biopsy procedure. Some women have bleeding and/or discharge after a biopsy. Others have pain that feels like cramps during menstruation. 

Biopsy samples are checked by a pathologist for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). CIN is the term used to describe abnormal cervical cells that were found on the surface of the cervix after a biopsy.

CIN is graded on a scale of 1 to 3, based on how abnormal the cells look under a microscope and how much of the cervical tissue is affected. LSIL changes seen on a Pap test are generally CIN 1. HSIL changes seen on a Pap test can be CIN 2, CIN2/3, or CIN 3.  

  • CIN 1 changes are mild, or low grade. They usually go away on their own and do not require treatment.
  • CIN 2 changes are moderate and are typically treated by removing the abnormal cells. However, CIN 2 can sometimes go away on its own. Some women, after consulting with their health care provider, may decide to have a colposcopy with biopsy every 6 months. CIN 2 must be treated if it progresses to CIN 3 or does not go away in 1 to 2 years.
  • CIN 3 should be treated right away, unless you are pregnant.

Treatment for High-Grade Cervical Cell Changes 

These treatments are used when a woman has high-grade cervical cell changes that have a high risk of developing into cancer.  

Treatments that remove abnormal cells are called excisional treatments:

  • Cold knife conization: A scalpel is used to remove a cone-shaped section of abnormal tissue. This procedure is done at the hospital and requires general anesthesia.
  • LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure): A thin wire loop, through which an electrical current is passed, is used to remove abnormal tissue. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area. Your health care provider usually performs this procedure in the office. It takes only a few minutes, and you will be awake during the procedure.

Treatments that destroy abnormal cells are called ablative treatments:

  • Cryotherapy: A special cold probe is used to destroy abnormal tissue by freezing it. This procedure is done in your health care provider’s office. It takes only a few minutes and usually does not require anesthesia.
  • Laser therapy: A laser (narrow beam of intense light) is used to destroy abnormal tissue. This procedure is done at the hospital and general anesthesia is used.

Pregnancy and Treatment for High-Grade Cervical Cell Changes

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, your health care provider will talk with you about procedures that are recommended for you and the timing of these procedures. Depending on your specific diagnosis, you may be treated postpartum, or after delivery.

Questions to Ask Before Treatment

  • What are the possible treatments for the condition that I have? 
  • Which treatment do you recommend for me, and why? 
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment?
  • What will happen during the treatment?
  • What are the possible risks of this treatment? 
  • How might this treatment affect a future pregnancy?
  • How long will the procedure take? 
  • Will general anesthesia or local anesthesia be needed?
  • What side effects might I have from this procedure? How long might these side effects last?
  • Are there any activities that I should avoid after the procedure?

Why Annual Pap Smears Are History – But Routine Ob-Gyn Visits Are Not

In the recent past, women were advised to visit their ob-gyn every year for a Pap test, as well as a pelvic exam and breast exam. The Pap test, also called a Pap smear, is a screening test for cervical cancer.

Fast forward to today, and our advice has changed. Women should still visit their ob-gyn each year, and I’ll outline why that’s so important below. But we no longer advise women to have an annual Pap test. A big reason for the change: We now better understand the way cervical cancer develops over time—we know it takes many years to develop—so we’ve expanded the time between screenings.

We also now have two screening options to detect cervical cancer, the Pap test and the HPV test. (HPV stands for human papillomavirus—a virus that can cause cervical cancer.) With both tests, cells are taken from the cervix and tested. The Pap test looks for abnormal cells that may develop into cancerous cells over time. The HPV test looks for the strains of HPV that are most likely to cause cancer.

Here’s a quick summary of ACOG guidelines for cervical cancer screening (read this FAQ for the full details):

  • Women age 21 to 29 should have a Pap test alone every 3 years. HPV testing alone can be considered for women who are 25 to 29, but Pap tests are preferred.

  • Women age 30 to 65 have three options for testing. They can have both a Pap test and an HPV test every 5 years. They can have a Pap test alone every 3 years. Or they can have HPV testing alone every 5 years.

  • After age 65, you can stop having cervical cancer screenings if you have never had abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer, and you’ve had two or three negative screening tests in a row, depending on the type of test.

Exceptions to the guidelines

You may need more frequent screenings if you

  • have a history of cervical cancer

  • are HIV positive

  • have a weakened immune system,

  • were exposed before birth to diethylstilbestrol (DES, a hormone given to pregnant women between 1940 and 1971)

If you have had a hysterectomy, you still may need screening. And if you’ve had the HPV vaccine, you should still follow the guidelines. The vaccine doesn’t protect you against every type of HPV.

Doctor’s notes

Most women are exposed to HPV in the course of normal sexual activity if they’ve had more than one sexual partner. The reason we don’t do Pap tests before age 21 is because the likelihood of someone that young getting cervical cancer is very low. After age 65, the likelihood of having an abnormal Pap test also is low.

Why you should see your ob-gyn every year

Whether or not you are due for cervical cancer screening, you should still see your ob-gyn at least once a year. Your routine visit is a good time for you and your ob-gyn to share information and talk about your wishes for your health care.

During your visit, you and your ob-gyn can talk about any number of common concerns, such as problems with sex or birth control, pelvic pain, or abnormal bleeding.

You also can talk together about whether you need a breast exam or pelvic exam. Plus, you can discuss testing for STIs (sexually transmitted infections), getting the vaccines you need, having your blood pressure checked, and other general medical issues.

The routine visit to your ob-gyn is crucial for your overall health, and cervical cancer screening is just one small—but important—part of that.

Last updated: April 2021

Last reviewed: April 2021

Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.

This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOG’s complete disclaimer.

90,000 Dad test not for dads, but for moms

Many have heard of the modern gynecological examination, which is called the PAP test (or Papanicolaou cytology) and has a high reliability of the results. But not everyone knows for what purpose the analysis is being done and to whom it is shown. LabStory gynecologists are ready to share this important information.

Of course, the PAP test has nothing to do with testing paternity. It has a different diagnostic significance.This is a smear taken from the cervix.

A century ago, the Greek geneticist Papanikolaou became famous throughout the world for learning to recognize uterine cancer at a stage when the tumor had not yet formed and it could not be detected by any other diagnostic methods. A hundred years have passed, and the relevance of the test has not decreased.

Of course, many are familiar with the vaginal smear. Usually it is taken for flora research. Here the task is different – to detect or exclude cancer.A cervical swab is a scraping of epithelial cells that is applied to laboratory glass and sent to a laboratory, where a doctor analyzes the cells for signs of cancer. However, the smear has serious errors and about 40% of the results give false negative results.

Pap test is a cytological test for abnormal cells that is performed using several smear staining methods. This allows you not to miss the presence of changes in the cells taken from the cervix.

Now about the main thing.

Who needs to do the test and how often in order not to miss cancer?

  • All women need to start with the onset of sexual activity and be examined annually so as not to fall into the risk group for cervical cancer. Moreover, it is very convenient to combine a visit to a gynecologist with a PAP study .
  • If there are irregularities in the cycle, there are no periods for a long time, they are too scarce or, conversely, abundant, erosion and other gynecological diseases are detected – then PAP test is performed twice as often – once every six months.
  • With the same frequency, it is necessary to do research for all women in the family who have had cancer of the uterus or ovaries.
  • And, of course, Pap test is necessarily performed in pregnant women, and even better during the period when you are just planning to conceive a child.

Many people ask the question: PAP test and cytology are different analyzes?
It seems that there, and there, the identification of malignant and related cells. At the same time, PAP is twice as expensive.

They are looking for the same thing, but with different methods.

The material for the study is a cytological smear. The algorithm for its diagnosis is the same as for a conventional cytological examination. However, for the PAP study , a different fixation and staining method is used. The sample that has just been applied to the glass is quickly fixed with alcohol. After that, a series of staining is performed. Wet fixation allows you to keep the cells unchanged, which contributes to their better differentiation.

Receipt of hand test results may vary depending on the institution where the woman was screened. In public medical institutions, the waiting time can be from 1 to 2 weeks, while submitting tests to LabStory, the results of a PAP smear can be collected in a few days.

Having received the results in her hands, a woman should contact her gynecologist in order to decipher them. It is possible to independently read and understand what the screening results indicate, but there are fears that if the patient is misinterpreted, the patient will miss precious time.

90,000 Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods – ISIDA Clinic Kiev, Ukraine


More than half of women turn to gynecologists with symptoms of pelvic inflammation. Of these, 60-70% of cases are diagnosed with cervicitis. This disease is often asymptomatic; many women do not notice any pathological changes in themselves. But at the same time, protracted inflammatory processes can become the basis of many problems and complications. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle, regular check-ups, early detection and treatment of the problem are the basis of women’s health.

What is cervicitis

Inflammation of the cervix (cervix) of an infectious or non-infectious origin. Clinically, inflammation can be located on the vaginal part of the cervix – exocervicitis, or on the mucous membrane of the cervical canal – endocervicitis.

Occurs in women of different ages who have regular and irregular sex lives. It must be understood that the vagina, vulva and cervix constitute an integral structure, therefore, inflammation often occurs in conjunction with vulvitis or vaginitis.

  1. During the course of the disease, the following is isolated:
  • sharp
  • chronic processes;
  • By the prevalence of inflammatory response:
    • focal
    • diffuse cervicitis.
  • By etiological factor:
    • specific (infectious)
    • nonspecific, due to conditionally pathogenic flora of the vagina and hormonal disruptions in the body.

    Among the latter, special attention is paid to the use of topical contraceptives and douching with vaginal solutions in order to prevent pregnancy.

    Chronic cervicitis

    The main reason for the transition from acute to chronic cervicitis is a poorly treated or overlooked acute process. Complaints and symptoms are practically absent, therefore, the diagnosis of cervicitis is established at a routine appointment with a gynecologist.

    Postpartum cervicitis

    Occurs due to gross interference in the process of childbirth, as a result of tearing the cervix with dryness of the birth canal. Cervicitis is actively developing simultaneously with endometritis and vaginitis.When examining the vagina in the mirrors, hemorrhages and wounds are found.

    Causes of occurrence

    Normally, there is a normal microflora in the vagina with a predominance of anaerobic bacteria over aerobic bacteria, which determines the protection of tissues from the effects of pathogenic factors. Also, cervical mucus with a high concentration of bactericidal substances that prevent the penetration of inflammatory agents into the uterus is involved in the body’s defense. Violations occur due to the destruction of anatomical and physiological protective mechanisms.

    Etiology of the disease

    1. Viruses. In 75% of cases, the activity of the human papillomavirus (HPV) contributes to cervicitis. The causative agent is difficult to identify due to the latent form of the course of the viral disease, but modern PCR analyzes have simplified this task. In addition to HPV, cytomegalovirus, herpes virus and adenovirus are isolated.
    2. Chlamydia. In 37% of women, chlamydia associated with the obligate (permanent) flora of the vagina causes cervicitis.
    3. Trichomoniasis.It is detected in 20% of all women with cervicitis. It proceeds in a chronic form, often without any special complaints or symptoms.
    4. Fungal infection. Candida albicans, less often its other forms, are the cause of cervicitis. It occurs as a result of an imbalance of microflora against the background of the use of antibiotics, hormonal disorders and latent chronic diseases.
    5. Conditionally pathogenic microflora. This is a group of bacteria that inhabit the vagina and do not normally cause inflammation.They can provoke cervicitis in cases of careless use of local contraceptives, drugs, against the background of a general decrease in immunity, imbalance of microflora. Most often, with cervicitis, gram-negative flora is determined: Escherichia coli, staphylococci, streptococci.
    6. Local contraceptives (more precisely, their incorrect use). Incorrect setting of cervical and intra-cervical contraceptives, the use of chemical spermicides and douching with chemical solutions as contraception.
    7. Age changes. In the perimenopausal age, inflammation of the cervix against the background of colpitis with a reduced synthesis of estrogens.
    8. Individual intolerance (latex) can provoke cervicitis.
    9. Gynecological procedures, gross interventions in childbirth, traumatic childbirth with ruptures, abortions, surgical and diagnostic manipulations with the expansion of the cervical canal.
    10. Descent of the pelvic organs.
    11. Immunodeficiency conditions that reduce the body’s ability to resist infections.

    Symptoms and signs of cervicitis

    In accordance with etiological factors, the symptoms of cervicitis vary greatly.

    1. In an acute course or exacerbation of the process, foul-smelling purulent discharge, complaints of burning and constant itching in an intimate place, discomfort when urinating, soreness during coitus appear. Pulling and aching pains above the pubis are less common, but possible.
    2. In chronic cervicitis, the clinical picture is blurred or absent altogether.The situation is aggravated during menstruation, after hypothermia, when changing a sexual partner. A characteristic diagnostic symptom is bleeding after coitus or when examined by a gynecologist.
    3. Gonorrheal cervicitis is manifested by profuse secretion of mucus and pus, dysuric disorders (urinary disorders). Chlamydia is characterized by a rapid change in the acute phase – a chronic asymptomatic form. Trichomoniasis cervicitis is characterized by a greenish discharge and an unpleasant odor.

    Cervicitis and pregnancy

    During pregnancy, the cervix plays the role of a barrier that protects the uterine cavity and the fetus from exogenous factors. During the period of inflammation, the infection enters the ascending route through the cervical canal to the embryo.

    In the presence of chronic cervicitis, there is a high probability of spontaneous abortion, premature birth and a difficult postpartum period.

    In the first trimester, the infection provokes intrauterine malformations and primary placental insufficiency, which almost always ends in miscarriage, frozen pregnancy or fetal growth retardation.

    In the second and third trimester, due to cervicitis, an abnormal development of an already developed organ and pseudo-disfigurement (hydrocephalus hydronephrosis) occurs.

    When the amniotic fluid becomes infected (the infection enters the amniotic fluid), dispersed in the chorioamnial space, the woman’s body reacts with leukocyte infiltration, forms a focus and, as a result, fetal death occurs.

    Diagnosis of the disease

    Cervicitis is often asymptomatic and is detected during a planned visit to the doctor.To clarify the diagnosis, several research methods are used. All of them are divided into subjective and objective.

    1. Subjective methods for diagnosing cervicitis include complaints and patient history taking. During the conversation, the gynecologist makes the first conclusions about a possible diagnosis.
    2. The main, objective method for examining cervicitis is a gynecological examination. Hyperemia in the cervical region, petechiae, slight bleeding after touching with a tampon are the main visual symptoms in the acute course of the process.The nature of the discharge is also determined. They can be slimy and purulent.
    3. Smear is a qualitative and quantitative study of the vaginal microflora. In an inflammatory smear, the number of lactobacilli is reduced, cocci, gonococci, Trichomonas, leukocytosis are found.
    4. A PAP test is used for a detailed examination of the cervical tissue. In a smear, they look for dyskeratosis, which disappears immediately after treatment. If dyskeratosis is detected, a biopsy is required for diagnosis.
    5. Biopsy – the study of the tissues of the cervix histologically.Under local anesthesia, a small fragment of the epithelium is taken from the patient for further examination in the laboratory. Biopsy is not done for acute cervicitis.
    6. For the final confirmation of the diagnosis, colposcopy is performed: the cervical mucosa is treated with acetic acid or an aqueous solution of iodine. In the first case, the affected epithelium turns white, in the second case, the mucous membrane does not stain with iodine solution, which also indicates inflammation.
    7. If the pathogen cannot be identified, PCR diagnostics are used – the determination of the DNA of viruses that cause cervicitis.Also, these examinations are carried out with a non-pronounced clinic. With the help of PCR analysis, HPV is found – the human papillomavirus.

    Methods for the treatment of cervicitis

    The basis of any therapy is the relief of the inflammatory phase with the help of medications or manipulations. With cervicitis, both local and systemic treatment is carried out, and after control tests, the restoration of the vaginal microflora is carried out.

    Drug therapy

    1. For candidal cervicitis, medications are prescribed topically and systemically.Locally, suppositories or creams with clotrimazole, nystatin or butoconazole are prescribed, fluconazole preparations are used systemically. If candidiasis comes back more often than once a quarter, anti-relapse treatment is prescribed.
    2. In chlamydia, topical treatment is practically irrelevant. Antibacterial drugs are necessarily prescribed: azithromycin, macrolides or tetracyclines. After a course of medicines, a control laboratory study is carried out.
    3. Metronidazole is prescribed for trichomoniasis.In case of unsuccessful treatment, replace the active substance with tinidazole.
    4. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are prescribed for gonococcal infections. Cephalosporins in combination with azithromycin give good results. Simultaneous therapy of two sexual partners is carried out.
    5. Pranobex is prescribed to patients with HPV, in addition to treatment, interferon suppositories are prescribed to correct immunity. However, to date, there is no approved treatment regimen.
    6. Acyclovir and famciclovir are used for herpes infection.The main diagnostic sign of cervicitis of herpetic etiology is the presence of vesicles with fluid inside.
    7. In chronic cervicitis, non-specific flora and fungi are often associated with each other. In such cases, the doctor prescribes a combination of broad-spectrum antibiotics and antimycotics – antifungal drugs.
    8. Physiotherapy. Sometimes, in the treatment of cervicitis, diadynamic currents, magnetotherapy and drug electrophoresis are used.
    9. After conservative treatment, it is necessary to restore the microflora with preparations containing lactobacilli.Gynecologists advise you to change your lifestyle, play sports and eat right.

    Destructive treatments for cervicitis

    Used if the inflammation is aggravated by concomitant pathology in the cervical region. With papillomatosis, leukoplakia, true erosion, in women who are just planning their first pregnancy, sparing destructive methods of therapy are used. With insufficient efficiency, the approach changes dramatically.

    1. Cauterization with solutions of acetic, nitric, oxalic acids.Medicines are injected on a tampon into the area of ​​inflammation. No scarring occurs.
    2. Cauterization with liquid nitrogen or carbon – cryodestruction. The peculiarity of the method is that the pathological focus must coincide with the size of the cauterizing instrument, therefore, with a diffuse form of cervicitis, this is contraindicated. The method is based on freezing the inflamed tissues, after healing, the epithelium is not scarred or deformed.
    3. Laser vaporization. Removal with a laser that warms up and kills abnormal cells.The method is widely used in girls who are just planning a pregnancy.
    4. Radio waves. Absolutely painless procedure with the Surgitron apparatus. In place of the altered tissues, new epithelial cells are formed that do not affect healthy cells.
    5. Argon plasma ablation. Non-contact method using a radio wave amplified by the influence of argon gas. Suitable for patients of all ages. Rough scars are not formed.
    6. Surgical treatment. It is used for the simultaneous diagnosis of cervicitis and dysplasia, cervical polyps or papillomatosis.The main indication is cicatricial deformity of the cervix. The operation is carried out exclusively in a hospital.
    7. Loop electrosurgical excision. This method of treating cervicitis is available to patients with a chronic course of the disease. A modified fragment of the epithelium is excised with an electric loop, small vessels are simultaneously cauterized, and the resulting material is examined in the laboratory.

    Complications of cervicitis

    1. Protracted course of the disease. Prolonged ulceration of the mucous membrane of the cervix further leads to the formation of a scar.The cervix is ​​deformed, stenosis of the cervical canal develops, provoking complications in the form of ruptures during childbirth.
    2. Menstrual irregularities. Possible infertility. As a result of the ascending infection of the endometrium and appendages, the occurrence of inflammation of the pelvic organs.
    3. The onset of dysplasia – precancer. When diagnosing chronic cervicitis, atypical cells are found – an alarming signal! Often, cervicitis is combined with HPV, which is a risk of oncogenization.

    Prevention of cervicitis

    To prevent the onset of an illness, several points must be followed:

    1. Annual preventive examinations by a gynecologist. In most women, cervicitis is detected on a simple examination.
    2. Careful and competent use of oral and local contraceptives. All drugs should be selected by a gynecologist after the appointment of tests and examination.
    3. Pregnancy planning.
    4. Regular sexual partner.Elimination of promiscuous sexual intercourse, the use of barrier methods of contraception to avoid infection.

    Cervicitis is a quiet, often asymptomatic disease that occurs in the lives of many women. It is important to timely identify the disease in order to exclude possible complications from the genitourinary system. Correctly and on time, selected treatment can permanently relieve cervicitis.

    Pap smear shuffling – Healths

    At first we are told to have mammograms later and less frequently.The changes in mammography rules made last Tuesday caused a storm of indignation, but before the dust had time to settle (in fact, it is only


    At first we are told to do mammograms later and less often. The changes in mammography rules made last Tuesday caused an uproar, but before the dust had time to settle (in fact, it just started to rise), women were shocked by a completely new amendment to our basic rules of health care.On Friday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists informed us that we do not need to have a Pap test as often as we used to. Although they were 18 before, the new protocol states that girls under 21 no longer need Pap tests (even if they have sex). For those over 21, instead of annually – we only need to make Pope every second year . On top of that, women over 30 need to be screened every three years only if they have a three-year history of normal Pap tests.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like wearing a backless dress for a quick meeting with stirrups and that cold uncomfortable clip ( shudder ). But as a 26-year-old woman, I believe that my yearly Pap smear is at the heart of my health care. In fact, my health was good, so instead of going to my GP for a yearly check-up, I consider my gynecologist my one-stop shop for everything related to health.I go to my dad and chat about health, she answers all my questions, checks for lumps in her breasts – and I walk out of her office with the confidence that if any part of my body is not in great shape, I will know soon enough. …

    While I’m certainly not a healthcare professional, something about these new guidelines makes me feel, well … more uncomfortable than a cold clamp between my legs. Getting a Guide for Taking Less than The precautions for my health just don’t work for me.But every story has two sides, right? Here is ACOG’s position on Pap smears:

    Why ACOG changed the rules for us: The group believes that overuse of Pap smears can be harmful to women. It is not uncommon for a young woman to develop cervical abnormalities that ultimately simply disappear, although at first they may seem precancerous. If the doctor does remove the abnormality, the cervix could be damaged, which could lead to future pregnancy problems (such as premature birth).And because HPV cervical cancer (which is what my dad is looking for) develops slowly – perhaps over 10 to 20 years – these doctors believe it is safe to get tested less often. And the timing of the mammogram? According to ACOG, it was just a coincidence, so women shouldn’t feel like our overall health care is under attack. In fact, the group opposes changing mammography guidelines.

    Okay, okay – I understand them. But in my opinion, there is a more important problem here: instead of telling us to get checked less often, why not take a closer look at this invasive procedure that could potentially harm us? According to the American Cancer Society, in 2008, about 11,070 American women contracted cervical cancer.Make improvements to the test; do not risk your health.

    As for me, I have my annual visit to the Pope in a couple of weeks, and I plan to be there – in a backless dress and all.

    Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Everyday Health.

    Anti-Pap smear Wet Masks – Health

    When examining women’s health, the wet sample is a slide made from a vaginal swab.It is also known as a vaginal swab. The purpose of wet fixing is to determine the cause


    In the Women’s Health Examination, the wet sample is a slide made from a vaginal swab. It is also known as a vaginal swab. The purpose of the wet mount is to determine the cause of vaginitis. Wet mount can also be a standard part of your annual pelvic exam.

    To prepare a wet sample, your doctor will take a swab from your vagina — usually during a pelvic exam — and roll the swab onto a slide.Some doctors may also allow you to take the smear yourself. Your doctor can then look at the wet frame under the microscope in his office to diagnose visible conditions such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis.

    Wet mounts are not used to diagnose the most common STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. However, these vaginal swabs can give your doctor important information about your reproductive health.

    Clarify the difference between wet and Pap smears

    Wet and Pap smears can start with a smear, but these are very different types of tests.Wet smears are read by a doctor in the office. They are used to detect 3-4 specific types of infections such as those mentioned above. Reading wet bindings takes practice, but it is still relatively easy to do.

    On the other hand, the Pap smear is not used to detect STDs. Instead, they are used to detect HPV-related precancerous changes in the cervix. It is a test for cancer and precancerous conditions. In addition, although cervical swabs are taken in the doctor’s office, specially trained pathologists (or computers) analyze them.Cellular changes are much more subtle than changes. what doctors are looking for on wet surfaces.

    Another important difference between Pap smears and wet swabs is that Pap smears are from the cervix and wet swabs are vaginal swabs. They are not only used to diagnose various types of conditions, but they also contain samples of cells from different locations.

    However, one thing that both wet and pap smears have in common is that they are usually done in conjunction with other tests for STDs.None of the tests are independent to monitor a woman’s sexual and reproductive health.