Many women think an abnormal Pap test result means they have cancer, but in fact, Pap test results can be abnormal for many reasons. One of the most common causes of an abnormal Pap test result is the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is a family of very common viruses, some of which can cause an increased risk for certain cancers, including cervical and uterine cancers, and some of which can cause genital warts. Most people come in contact with HPV at some point in their lives, and in most cases, the body removes the virus on its own. But sometimes, the virus persists, resulting in abnormal Pap smear results. Other causes include yeast infections, other types of STDs and hormonal fluctuations.
You may have the test repeated or you may have additional testing, including a colposcopy exam. Colposcopy is performed in much the same way as a pelvic exam. You'll lie on your back on the exam table with your feet in the “stirrups.” A speculum will be gently inserted into your vagina to widen the vaginal canal, and a solution will be applied to your cervix and vaginal wall to highlight abnormal cells. Then, the colposcope will be used to evaluate the cells. The scope includes a magnifier and light to provide a clear view of the abnormal areas. In some cases, small tissue samples (biopsies) may be taken for examination under a microscope.
If cancerous cells are identified, you'll have a comprehensive exam and evaluation to determine the extent of the cancer and to discuss your treatment options. Evaluation methods include diagnostic imaging like ultrasound and CT scans as well as minimally-invasive procedures to see inside your uterus and to evaluate your ovaries.
Please always verify we participate in your insurance plan when you call to schedule your appointment as our participation with different plans may change from time to time. We also strongly recommend that you contact your insurance carrier to verify your coverage, benefits, limitations and exclusions prior to appointment.
For insurance plans with which we participate, we will seek to obtain verification of your eligibility. However, even when coverage, benefits, and eligibility are verified, your insurance plan will not guarantee the accuracy of their confirmation.
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"Dr. Wittgrove is exceptionally warm with excellent bedside manner. She took her time to really talk to me and my husband during our first OB appointment with her."
"I was very happy and comfortable during my time at Dr. Wittgrove's office. Dr. Wittgrove put my mind at ease. Thank you."