Abnormal pap smears
It's not unusual for Pap smear results to come back abnormal in adolescents. Most times, any lesion that a Pap detects in an adolescent will go away on its own. This is why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that if your daughter is under 21 and receives slightly abnormal Pap results, she probably needs no additional testing for one year.
- Abnormal Pap tests may signal that your daughter's cells are infected with Human Papillomavirus (HPV). If she is over 21, she may be at risk for developing cervical cancer without further treatment.
- If the test shows a significant abnormality, a colposcopy may be performed (using an instrument called a colposcope) to examine the vagina and the cervix.
- A biopsy of the cervical tissue may need to be analyzed by a pathologist. This is the only sure way to determine whether the abnormal cells indicate cancer.
Abnormal Pap smears at Boston Children's Hospital
The Gynecology Program at Boston Children's Hospital provides Pap tests or "smears." A Pap test is an important part of catching any cells in your daughter's cervix that could lead to cancer. During her visit to Children's, your daughter will receive whatever treatment or guidance she needs if the test shows any evidence of an abnormality or infection.
The Center for Young Women's Health, part of the Gynecology Program, aims to help teen girls understand the complexities of their bodies. Our web site provides detailed, easy to access information about Pap smears and their results.