A pap smear is a test done by your primary care physician (PCP) to check for abnormal changes in the cells of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to the uterus that connects to the vagina. It grows taller and wider during pregnancy, which allows the baby to pass through it during labor and delivery.
Dr Joy Trueblood Atrophic changes are the most common abnormality in a Pap test. They’re caused by hormonal changes, which occur in women after menopause. Atrophic changes can also be seen in younger women who have never had children or who have had their uterus removed (hysterectomy).
Atrophic changes may not cause any symptoms and don’t require treatment unless they bleed or itch. If you notice bleeding or itching around your vagina, contact your doctor for further evaluation and possible treatment options that may include estrogen therapy or surgery to remove abnormal tissue from your cervix, says Dr Joy Trueblood.
Clear Cell Carcinoma
Clear cell carcinoma is a rare form of cervical cancer that can also be found in the vagina, vulva and anus. It is usually discovered at an advanced stage when it is more difficult to treat.
The symptoms of clear cell carcinoma are similar to other types of cancers, including:
• Bleeding from the vagina or between periods (after menopause)
• An unusual discharge from the vagina (may be bloody)
• Pain during sex or urination
Dysplasia is a precancerous condition. The abnormal growth of cells on your cervix can be found during a pap smear. It can be treated with surgery or radiation to remove any affected areas of your cervix, but it’s important to take note that if you have dysplasia, there’s an increased risk for developing cervical cancer later in life.
If you find out that you have dysplasia during one of these tests and are nervous about what this means for your future health–or if you just want more information about how doctors treat this condition–it’s best to talk with your primary care physician or gynecologist so they can explain everything in detail!