Abnormal Cervical Smears
Doesn't always mean cancer.
Helping you to understand
At Gynae Solution, we will use plain language to explain what you have, what the treatment options are and what your prognosis is in terms you can understand.
What are Cervical Smears?
Regular cervical smears are important in monitoring your gynaecological health and screening for infection, inflammation or other abnormal cells that may indicate disease. Early detection is important in treating any disease and especially important for cervical cancer and other potentially life-threatening diseases.
Over the years, many screening protocols have changed but most women should have a cervical cancer screening every 1-3 years, a pelvic exam and breast cancer screening as appropriate depending on individual risk factors and age. Cervical smears are recommended for women who are sexually active or over the age of 18.
During the exam, the doctor will examine your pelvic organs for any abnormalities or changes. During a smear test, he or she will remove some tissue from the cervix to carefully examine as well. An annual exam is one of the most important steps you can take in preventing disorders of the pelvic organs.
Early-stage cervical cancer has no symptoms, which makes your cervical smear critical for early detection.
Listening to you
It's important to find a consultant who will listen to your concerns to help explain and answer any questions you might have.
Cervical smear results and treatment
Cervical smear results come back as normal, unclear, or abnormal.
A positive result means your sample contained abnormal cells, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. At Gynae Solution we undergo a simple procedure to learn more about your cervical tissue.
Mr Jafaru Abu uses a type of microscope to examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva for signs of disease. He sometimes collects a small tissue sample for additional testing.
The procedure takes around 20 minutes and is relatively painless. After a biopsy sample, some women have light bleeding, vaginal discharge, or slight vaginal pain up to two days after the procedure.
Usually, the results are back within one to two weeks.
What causes abnormal cervical smears?
If you have an abnormal cervical smear, it is important to know the causes to avoid them in the future or know which action to take to manage the abnormal cervical cells.
Below are the causes of abnormal cervical smears you should be aware of:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Human papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted infection, is the leading cause of cervical cancer because it affects the skin. HPV is a common, sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. Some strains of HPV are very dangerous and require treatment as soon as possible because they can lead to the development of precancerous cervical cells.
Since HPV does not show any symptom or associated complications, it is advisable to schedule regular cervical smears with your gynaecologist, especially if you're sexually active. It is during a cervical smear that the gynaecologists conduct HPV tests to ensure your cervix is healthy. You should also discuss with your sexual partner about the HPV test results for easy management of the infection. Most of the time, HPV can disappear on its own, but it is essential to closely monitor it because it can refuse to disappear, leading to cervical cancer.
Cervical dysplasia is the abnormal change of cervical cells, which can cause cervical cancer when left untreated. It is mostly associated with HPV infection among women under the age of thirty years. Mild cervical dysplasia may resolve without treatment, although careful observation and examination through cervical smears are essential to monitoring the kind of abnormal changes in your cervical cells. However, any cervical dysplasia which persists for more than two years will require treatment to remove the unusual/abnormal cells.
Cervical cancer is progressive and grows over time. Meaning if detected early, the cancerous cells can be removed as a treatment option. There are numerous ways we can remove precancerous cervical cells before they grow into cervical cancer. The earlier we detect precancerous cervical cells, the better since they are easily manageable at an early stage.
STI's like herpes, gonorrhoea, or yeast infection. It is essential to schedule an appointment with a gynaecologist whenever you experience the below symptoms to establish the cause of those unusual symptoms for appropriate treatment to avoid further abnormal cervical smears.
Other harmless reasons can lead to abnormal cervical smear results that have nothing to do with an infection or cervical dysplasia, for example:
- Insertion of tampons in the vagina
- Recent sexual intercourse or use of lubricant in your vaginal area
- Lab error
- Recent menstruation or close to menstruation
- Use of powders and sprays around the vaginal area