Abnormal Pap Smears/ Colposcopy
Pap Smears
Pap Smear (or pap test) are how women are screened for cervical cancer, or cancer of the cervix. The cervix is the mouth of the uterus, and can be visualized at the top of the vagina. It is a painless test performed with a soft brush, usually at the time of a routine gynecologic exam. While we usually recommend yearly gynecologic exams for most women, a pap smear does not need to be performed every year. 
When Do I start getting pap smears?
You should start getting pap smears at the age of 21, regardless of your sexual history. This is in accordance with the most recent guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

How often do I need a pap smear?
It depends on your age and what the results of your previous pap smears have been. These guidelines are tailored to the needs of the each individual patient. 

What Is HPV?
 HPV stands for Human PapillomaVirus . There are over 100 different types of HPV that we know of so far. HPV are spread through sexual contact and affect the genitals. Some types of HPV cause genital warts. Other types of HPV can cause the cells of the cervix to become abnormal. If these abnormal cells are not monitored and not treated the abnormality could worsen into cancer. It usually takes years for cancer to develop. In most women, their immune system will get rid of the virus before it can cause cancer. 

How can I prevent HPV?
There is a vaccine for 4 of the more common types of HPV, called Gardasil . It is a series of three shots, recommended by the CDC for girls and boys between the ages of 10-12. The vaccine is recommended at such a young age because the vaccine works best at a mounting an immune response to HPV if it is given prior to any HPV exposure.

Abnormal Pap Smear
If you receive a phone call from us informing you that your pap smear is abnormal, please do not panic, as an abnormal pap smear DOES NOT mean you have cancer.

Treatments for abnormal pap smears

A Colposcopy is a procedure that is done in the office to evaluate your abnormal pap smear. Dr. Beverly will look at your cervix with a special microscope after applying a dilute vinegar solution over the cervix. The vinegar solution causes any significant abnormalities to appear white. 
If any significant lesions are seen, a biopsy of that area may be taken for evaluation in the lab. DO NOT worry about this biopsy. Most women do not even feel it being done. Your cervix does not have nerve endings like your skin. If needed, medicine will then be used to stop any bleeding at the biopsy site. This can cause some cramping like a menstrual cramps. If you want to take some Ibuprofen prior to your procedure, this can help with the cramping. The results from the colposcopy will take about 1-2 weeks to come back. Unless the results require that we do any further procedures we will usually see you in the office for another pap smear in 6 months. 

LEEP procedure
LEEP stands for " Loop Electrosurgical Excisional Procedure." the LEEP's
are done in the office applying some numbing medicine. Whereas the colposcopy and biopsy are meant to evaluate and monitor abnormalities, a LEEP procedure is meant to REMOVE the abnormality. A thin wire loop is used, and electric current is passed through the loop to cut away a part of the cervix. The portion of the cervix that is removed is sent to the lab for evaluation 

You may experience some bleeding and discharge for up to a few weeks after your LEEP, as your cervix heals. Taking some ibuprofen before your LEEP procedure may prevent cramps during the procedure. The results of the LEEP take about 1-2 weeks to come back. After the LEEP procedure, we will usually see you in the office after 6 months for a repeat pap smear, depending on the results. 
Abnormal Pap Smears