I had my first abnormal pap results last week. I have never had HPV (and there was no mention of it even now). I have a scheduled colposcopy next week. However, I was told that I also have a yeast and significant bacterial infection. I don’t have any kids, so I’m quite afraid of the risk of cervical cancer. Would a doctor order a colposcopy for any old abnormal pap result? It has to show specific cell abnormalities to warrant a colposcopy, right?


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22 Responses to Cervical cancer

  1. Noo99 says:

    An abnormal pap usually means HPV, but it can be caused by other things. I had one a few years back and they did a colposcopy and found out that I just had an irritated cervix, which can happen. So, it can be caused by other things as well, fairly mundane.

  2. Mero says:

    Did you ever find out why your cervix was irritated?

  3. Noo99 says:

    I didn’t ask, but I assumed it was because I was having lots of rough sex at the time.

  4. NaiNo says:

    I had abnormal cells and went back for a colposcopy, and there didn’t turn out to be any cancer. The purpose of the procedure, as I remember it, is to detect the cause of your abnormal pap. It was a long time ago, though.

  5. Mero says:

    Thanks for the reply.

    How long did it take to get your results back, if you remember?

  6. NaiNo says:

    I think it took 2 weeks.

  7. Hteall says:

    They got a sufficiently abnormal result that they want to get a better look at things. It might be that the yeast and BV are what messed with things! But they don’t know. (And they may not have ever tested you for HPV; it is possible to have it, but have no cervical cell changes. If you have ever had genital contact with someone who was not unicorn bait, then there is a very high chance you’ve been exposed. It’s the common cold of the genitals.)

    I hope that everything gets sorted out in the area!

  8. Mero says:

    Thank you!

    I had no idea HPV wasn’t normally checked for during yearly paps! How surprising!

  9. Hteall says:

    Nope! They only check for abnormal cells. I think they add HPV checks after 30. Sometimes. Maybe. Depending on the clinic. Sometimes they’ll check for HPV if they get a weird result, or if it’s a 6-month checkup or something, but again, depends on the clinic.

    And all kinds of things can cause abnormal paps — having penetrative sex of some kind can muss up the cervical cells and cause an abnormal result.

  10. AetFire says:

    it’s been my understanding(from working in the field) that most paps are ordered to “reflex” hpv testing. which means, if your pap comes up with abnormal cells, it gets tested for HPV. with some testing facilities, this only means that they test for the prencense(sp) of HPV, not a specific strain. it’s been my experience with the OBGYN offices in my area that they only do colpo’s for a higher grade abnormally, not usually an ASCUS with HPV. typically if the pap comes back ASCUS, with or without HPV, they ask that a repeat pap be done before doing colpos. again, that’s just the ones in my area, not all doctors practice the same. it’s certainly within your rights to have a discussion with your doctor about all this and the specifics before going through with one.

    having a yeast and bv can cause abnormal changes in a pap due to inflammation. the paps i’ve seen are usually pretty specific about that, if the changes might be due to infection related inflammation or something else.

  11. Mero says:

    Oh, jesus. That’s terrifying. 🙁

  12. AetFire says:

    i apologize, it wasn’t my intent to scare you, just give info 🙁

    like i said, every doc practices different so the norm around here doesn’t mean that’s how everywhere else is. i would talk to you doc or their staff to get specifics and see what’s really going on.

    if there’s anything i can help with, please let me know.

  13. Mero says:

    No, no, no. It’s okay. I just keep trying to tell myself its all caused by my bacterial infection. 😛

    Basically, the pap would indicate how severe or mild the abnormalities are, correct?
    Will they tell me straight up if I ask them?

  14. AetFire says:

    it’s hard to tell without the specific results, but that could be part of it for sure.

    to a certain extent, yes it would. depending on what those results were, only a tissue sampling would be able to see really how much there is.

    as a medical professional, i sure hope so. some places are better about it than others. you could always ask for a copy of the actual test results and do your own research.

  15. Sseyle says:

    You didn’t ask me, but I’m gonna answer anyway. :p

    The pap is a screening tool – it will give a severity of results, but it’s not super accurate. That’s why they do a colpo when they think something might be up. Your pap’s results will say something like LGSIL (or LSIL – same thing) which means low grade abnormalities, or HGSIL (HSIL) which indicates high grade abnormalities. They should tell you your actual result if you ask. You have a right to your records, so if you request the results they have to give them to you. They do the colpo to make sure that what they saw in the pap is accurate, and see if there are any abnormalities severe enough to need treatment.

    Here’s the thing though. EVEN IF your results were HSIL. And EVEN IF the colposcopy says that there are indeed high grade abnormalities present, you are still going to be ok!

    Cervical CANCER, like full blown cancer, takes years to develop. Chances are extremely extremely extremely high that you do NOT have cancer. Not something you need to be worried about at all.

    What you may have is some dysplasia. Which honestly, is a lot like a mole that is a bit suspicious. Sometimes they decide that it’s ok…you can keep the mole (or in this case the dysplasia) and see if your body deals with it ok. In many cases, your cervix will heal up on it’s own! A watch-and-wait course of action is really appropriate for some levels of cervical dysplasia.

    Sometimes though, just like a weird looking mole, the dysplasia is advanced enough that they think it’s smart to remove the “mole”. Even then, just like a mole, what usually happens is that the doc cuts a little spot off of you, you heal up, and everything is ok! This is often done using a procedure called a LEEP. One LEEP is not worrisome with regards to future fertility. Having a whole bunch can have some impacts, but even then it’s still not like you can’t have a baby…it’s more like something you and your doc will want to keep an eye on if you do become pregnant. (I’m guessing your comment about not having kids implies worries about future fertility?)

    But you know what, even that worry is way way far off from where you are right now. Right now, you are gonna have a colpo, and see what happens next. Basically, the WORST case scenario is that you’d need to get some cells removed. After that, the majority of women are just fine and never need further treatment! What that means is that even your worst case scenario is not all that bad.

    If it helps at all, I’ve been through a similar experience. I had some abnormal paps, and then a bunch of colpos. We were hoping that my abnormalities would resolve on their own. Unfortunately they did not, so I went on to have a LEEP procedure. After my LEEP, there was actually still a little dysplasia present, which is unusual. But they kept an eye on me for awhile longer, and guess what!? I am now dysplasia free. My cervix is all healed up and I am told it looks great. :p There are no anticipated impacts on my future fertility. And as long as I don’t get a new strain of HPV, I am very unlikely to have any problems in the future. So even though I was quite unlucky in the sense that my dysplasia did not heal itself, and then the LEEP didn’t quite get everything, I still turned out totally fine. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to be scared. It was honestly an annoying ordeal. The procedures weren’t bad, but of course there are plenty of things I’d rather be doing. Spent a bit more time with my gyno than I wanted to. Aside from that, no big deal. I wish I had a crystal ball so I would have known… I was pretty worried and upset, and now looking back I know that I really didn’t need to be.

    Hope that helps a little.

  16. AsuNo says:

    Not the OP, but I feel so much more educated now, thank you! Paps, HSIL, LEEPs, all these acronyms and the meaning of various results… it’s always been a murky gray area that I didn’t know much about, and I’m really happy to understand it better.

    It’s very kind of you to use your own experience to demystify things so well and (hopefully) take an edge off the anxiety for the OP.

  17. Mero says:

    This was amazingly helpful. Thank you!

  18. Sseyle says:

    You’re welcome. Let me know if you have any other questions or anything. And good luck! 🙂

  19. Enimsk says:

    Your comment is super educational, and your mole analogy is pretty great. I’ve had friends with abnormal paps n such, and until this moment, I never really felt I understood what all was going on or how I should feel about it. Thank you!

  20. KaeDr says:

    Awesome analogy with the mole. Very well said 😛

  21. Sjpeeva says:

    Every office is different, but some do colpos for ANY abnormalities… thats how my office is. I had an abnormal PAP in the fall, had a colpo and biopsy, was diagnosed with HPV… i just had my 6 month PAP to follow up and everything had cleared up. didn’t have to have LEEP or anything, the only thing suggested to treat was to boost my immune system so i took some vitamins for awhile. hopefully the staff at your office will be helpful when you go… the nurse practitioner i saw was amazing, she explained everything she’d have to do, explained what would trigger alarm and what wouldn’t, answered my questions. its uncomfortable but its a short procedure… to me the waiting game is the worst part.

  22. YspRa says:

    performing a colposcopy after a positive pap result has become standard procedure, and I would be worried or surprised if they sent you on your way without taking a closer look, because that is exactly what the colpo is, a closer look at your cervix. the practitioner’s guide gives a flow chart of steps that look a bit like this. pap–> positive? –> test for HPV + colposcopy –> biopsy–> abnormal? –> referral for further treatment. Normal?–> see you in year.

    But they only test for HPV if there is an abnormal pap result.

    Studies have found that the combination of colposcopy and hpv testing have the highest effectiveness, and the first line of action, in preventing cervical cancer. This is mainly because of the removal of abnormal cells during the procedure can actually be a treatment and eliminate troubles down the road. if you are 26 and under get the hpv vaccine even if you are positive, as it has been shown to increase the rate at which the virus is killed because of the increase in antibodies against it. I’m sure you know how common hpv is and how mostly benign it is as well, as i’m sure not only all the people here, but your doctor will reassure you of this.

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