Skip to main content

My Pap Smear Results Were Abnormal — Now What?

At New Beginnings OB-GYN, we use a Pap smear — or Pap test — to monitor your cervical health. Your cervix is above your vagina at the very bottom of your uterus. When we do this test, we’re looking for specific changes in your cervical cells that could turn into cancer down the road. 

Because Pap smears are a preventive screening for cervical cancer, we understand how scary it can be to get abnormal results. However, even if you have an abnormal Pap smear, it rarely means you have cancer. 

Here’s what your Pap results might mean, and how we move forward if you have an abnormal test.

Understanding your Pap results

When you have a Pap smear, your results are either normal (negative) or abnormal (positive). Abnormal results mean there were irregularities found in your cervical cells. In many cases, they're because of the human papillomavirus, or HPV.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease directly linked to cervical cancer. With regular Pap testing, however, we can watch for signs of cervical changes early on and treat them before they progress or become life-threatening.

Other common causes of abnormal Pap tests include:

You can also get what’s called a “false positive” result. To avoid this, don’t use tampons and feminine products like suppositories, creams, and sprays in the days leading up to your appointment. You should also abstain from sexual intercourse.

What comes next

If you have an abnormal Pap, we make different recommendations based on whether your results were low- or high-grade. Low-grade results mean we found only a slight abnormality in some of your cells. When you have high-grade results, they indicate your cells are significantly more unusual and could develop into cancer in the future. 

Depending on your results, we might recommend another Pap, colposcopy, or removing the abnormal cells altogether.

Another Pap smear

Sometimes, all you need is another Pap smear so we can reevaluate your cervical cells. This is often done in combination with HPV testing so we can look for the presence of an infection.


A colposcopy gives us a more detailed look at your cervix. During this procedure, we examine your cervix under magnification to differentiate areas with normal and abnormal tissue. When you have a colposcopy, we can also take tissue samples for additional testing.

Removing abnormal cells

In some cases, we might recommend removing your abnormal cervical cells to keep them from becoming cancerous. We typically use two different methods: cryosurgery and loop electrosurgical excision (LEEP). Cryosurgery removes abnormal cells by freezing, and LEEP uses a small wire charged with electricity.

If additional testing indicates the presence of cervical cancer, we work closely with you to determine the next steps in your treatment strategy.

To learn more about Pap smears and protecting your cervical health, request an appointment here on our New Beginnings OB-GYN website, or give us a call to schedule your consultation at our Las Vegas office.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormones play a vital role in so much of what happens to our bodies and imbalances can wreak havoc on our bodies. Hormone replacement therapy is a solution that can help in several ways.

I Think I Have an STD: What Should I Do?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common problems that millions of people struggle with across the globe. If you think you have one, here are some tips on coping with the condition and getting help.

How to Manage Your Herpes Flare-up

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are widespread, and herpes is one of the more common diseases. It can stay dormant for long periods, but if you have an outbreak, you should know how to deal with it.

5 Important Facts About Endometrial Ablation

Many of us experience changes in our menstrual cycle from month to month. However, if you're bleeding too much or between periods, you may need help. Read on to get the facts about endometrial ablation and how it can help.

Is Pain During Intercourse Normal?

If you’re experiencing pain during sex, it can happen for many reasons. Whether or not you have reason to be concerned depends on the underlying causes of that pain. Read on to find out more.