Receiving an abnormal pap smear result can be very worrying, and it will have you wondering about what has caused your abnormal result.
Ovarian cysts can’t cause an abnormal pap smear result, but lots of other things can. We’ve compiled a handy guide to abnormal pap smears to help you understand what your results could mean. Let’s dive in!
What Is An Ovarian Cyst?
An ovarian cyst can develop on a woman’s ovary. It consists of a sac that forms on the outer surface of your ovary. Some cysts can become enlarged and cause a lot of pain.
These cysts are small sacs that are filled with fluid, and they develop for a lot of different reasons. They are fairly common and, in some cases, they are a byproduct of a normal menstrual cycle.
Will Your Pap Smear Come Back Abnormal If You Have An Ovarian Cyst?
If you have an ovarian cyst, your pap smear will not come back as abnormal. These smear tests are looking for other issues that we will explore below, but they cannot identify an ovarian cyst.
If a doctor has an indication that you have an ovarian cyst, this is usually diagnosed by having an ultrasound. This is performed with a probe that is placed inside your vagina.
If a cyst is identified, the doctor will likely monitor this. You may also be referred to a doctor who specialises in female reproductive health.
If your doctor is concerned about the cyst becoming cancerous, the doctor will arrange blood tests to look for the chemicals in your blood that can indicate that you have ovarian cancer.
Having high levels of these chemicals doesn’t mean you have cancer, it can also indicate endometriosis, a pelvic (see also: What Is Pelvic Rest?)infection, or your period.
How Are Ovarian Cysts Treated?
Not all ovarian cysts will need to be treated.
Whether or not they are treated will depend on the size and appearance of the cyst, whether you have experienced any symptoms, and whether you have been through menopause, along with some other factors.
In lots of instances, the cysts will disappear on their own after a few months. An ultrasound scan will confirm whether they have cleared up or not.
If you have already been through menopause, there is a slightly higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Having regular ultrasound scans and blood tests will ensure that the cyst is monitored and safe.
In some instances, you may need surgical treatment to remove the cyst. This is done if the cyst is large and is potentially cancerous.
What Causes Concerning Pap Smear Results?
While these ovarian problems are not able to cause abnormal pap smears, there are lots of things that cause your pap smear results to come back as abnormal.
An abnormal result does not automatically mean that you have cancer, it can also indicate other problems.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
One of the most common reasons for an abnormal pap smear is the presence of HPV. This is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, and it can affect both men and women.
In most cases, you will not show any signs or symptoms of HPV, and it will likely get better on its own without causing any problems.
However, in some cases, HPV can lead to the development of certain cancers, including cervical cancer.
HPV can develop into cervical dysplasia in some people.
Cervical dysplasia is an abnormal change in the cells in the cervix. If this is left untreated, it may lead to cervical cancer.
There are lots of different cases when it comes to cervical dysplasia. If it is in its early stages, your doctor can choose to monitor it. They can then act if they see any further changes.
However, if you have an advanced stage of dysplasia, your doctor may recommend that you remove the cells.
Cervical cancer does not have many symptoms until the later stages. For this reason, it is commonly diagnosed through an abnormal pap smear test.
Early detection of cervical cancer, or detecting abnormalities before your HPV or cervical dysplasia becomes cervical cancer is essential.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection that has symptoms of vaginal itching, discharge, and odour.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should book in a smear test to confirm if you have the disease.
Some sexually transmitted infections will not be picked up through a pap smear. Things like herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhoea will require additional testing.
An abnormal pap smear may also indicate that you have a vaginal infection. If this is diagnosed, your doctor will discuss your treatment depending on the type of infection that you have.
There are also lots of other causes for an abnormal pap smear. These pap smears can come back abnormal if you have recently had sexual intercourse, as this can affect the cells in your cervix.
As well as this, the results could come back as abnormal due to a lab error.
If you are close to your period, you could also experience cervix changes.
As there are lots of different causes for an abnormal pap smear, you should not panic if you receive an abnormal result. The doctors will talk to you about your next steps in this case.
There is no need to worry, and pap smears can save your life, so ensure that you stay on top of your checks!
So, there you have it! Ovarian cysts can’t cause abnormal results from your pap smears.
We have established that abnormal pap smears can be caused by many different factors, and your doctor will determine the cause and set out the best course of treatment for you.
It can be frightening to receive an abnormal pap smear result, but you should be aware that there is nothing to worry about.