Mercy Gynecologist Dr. Meghan Lynch Discusses What To Do If You Have An Abnormal Pap Smear
Pap tests are important when it comes to screening for cervical cancer in women, and it can be frightening to get an abnormal test result, but doctors said to not worry too much if that happens to you.
According to Mercy gynecologist Dr. Meghan Lynch, women shouldn't panic because abnormal Pap test results are very common.
"Sometimes, it's just a mild inflammation, like a yeast infection. Other times, it is the human papillomavirus (HPV) that's causing the abnormal Pap, and that is the virus that causes cervical cancer. But most of the time, it does not go on to become cervical cancer," Dr. Lynch said.
The follow-up to an abnormal Pap test is important to rule out cervical cancer. Doctors perform a five-minute exam using a colposcope.
"The colposcope is a microscope used to look at the cervix. What would happen during the exam is I would look at your cervix under the microscope. We look under the regular white light, and then we look again under green light. I put the vinegar on it, and then we take a little piece. That little pinch is the biopsy," Dr. Lynch explained.
Results usually take about a week.
When Ebony Ashby-Bey had a routine Pap test, she said she never expected to hear the results were abnormal.
"It was scary. I wasn't frantic, but it was always in the back of my mind that, you know, something could be wrong," she said.
Her biopsy results turned out well.
"Everything looks great, so I'm very happy," Ashby-Bey said. "I'm going to keep going to get my Pap tests every six months so that we can keep an eye on it, but she assured me that I'm going to be fine."
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.