HPV: Causes, Types, Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention

Pap Smears for Women

Pap smears can help reveal abnormal cell changes on the cervix, also known as cervical dysplasia. The degree of these abnormality ranges from mild to serious. Pap smear results often fall into any of the following categories:

Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) – This indicates results that straddle the line between normal and abnormal.

Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance-cannot exclude HSIL (ASC-H) – This also suggests borderline results, but they may possibly be more serious.

High-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) – Pap smears indicating significant abnormal cell changes on the cervix.

Low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) – Results having this description suggests mild abnormal changes on the cervix.

While HPV is the most common reason for an abnormal Pap smear result, experts say that it is not the only possible reason. Other infections may also cause this.

Women whose results indicate HSIL are advised to undergo a colposcopy. This allows closer examination of your cervix and possibly getting cell samples for a biopsy.

You should also consider having another Pap smear six months later if your results returned mild abnormal changes. Alternatively, you may just have a colposcopy.

Women whose ages fall within the range of 21 to 29 should get a Pap test every three years until the age of 65, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those who are 30 years or older can have the test every five years if done together with the HPV DNA test.

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