You know what to do when getting a Pap smear – put on the paper gown, slide to the edge of the table, etc. But what if, after an abnormal Pap smear, your doctor informs you that you need a colposcopy in Arizona? It’s normal to feel a bit anxious, but today we’re putting your fears to rest.
What It Means To Receive An “Abnormal” Pap Smear Result
An abnormal Pap result contains cells that have abnormalities. These changes are referred to as cervical dysplasia, and they can range in severity. If your Pap smear results come back showing any irregular cells, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they discovered cancerous or precancerous cells.
When low-grade, the changes will often disappear on their own without treatment. High-grade dysplasia, however, can develop into cancer over time.
Low-grade cervical changes may be a sign of an HPV infection, which is quite common. In most cases it will go away on its own, while in some cases it can lead to genital warts or cervical cancer.
If your Pap smear reveals any cervical dysplasia, your doctor may want you to come back for a colposcopy in Arizona, which is a lot less scary than it sounds.
A colposcopy involves your doctor examining your cervix through a microscope, at which point they may also take that cervical biopsy. The decision to recommend a woman for colposcopy is primarily based on the Pap smear grade.
Patients 35 or older with high-grade cells, will typically be referred immediately. Doctors may be more likely to wait with young patients in their 20s with low-grade cells because those cells typically regress over time. Still, it ultimately comes down to what you and your doctor believe is best for you.
Prior to the procedure, avoid putting anything into your vagina unless your doctor recommends it; this includes no sex, tampons, or douching. Basically, you don’t want to cause any irritation prior to the procedure. Patients should also avoid alcohol the night before the procedure in case anesthetic or medication is needed.
For many individuals, cramping – similar to menstrual cramping – occurs during the biopsy portion of the procedure. The cramping is typically only present when the tissue is being removed with the forceps. Your doctor will warn you before removing the tissue, so you’re able to prepare and take deep breaths.
The tissue taken from the biopsy is sent to a pathologist and the results should come within a week or two. While you’re waiting for the results, you’ll probably be anxious. Try to remain calm – abnormal cells can be treated with various procedures.
The good news is that a Pap smear or colposcopy in Arizona allows doctors to identify and treat precancerous lesions before they develop into cancer, which has dramatically impacted the number of people diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer. So, please, get regular Pap smears; as scary as it seems, you are doing something important to prevent cancer and you will be glad you did.
Want more information regarding colposcopy in Arizona and how it can help your symptoms? Call our office today to schedule a consultation and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions and address your concerns!