The Pap Test sometimes called a Pap smear, tells your doctor if there are any abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus and it opens into the vagina (the birth canal). Some abnormal cells may be pre-cancer or, rarely, cancer..
A Pap test result that is not normal usually is caused by an infection or types of vaginal irritation. It also may be caused by a change in cells. A woman who receives an abnormal Pap test result may need further testing. Sometimes you may only need a repeat Pap test because many cell changes go away on their own.
Treatment of cervical changes depends on the severity of the problem. With some techniques, the abnormal cervical tissue is removed and sent to a lab to be studied. With other techniques, such as freezing or laser, there is no sample to be tested. In rare cases a hysterectomy is used to treat cervical changes. Women who wish to have children should discuss their options with their doctor.
If you are concerned about abnormal Pap test results, talk to your doctor. Keep in mind that most problems that cause abnormal Pap test results, when found early, can be treated. Routine exams and Pap tests are the best ways to find cervical problems.