What can throw off Pap smear results?

Possible causes of abnormal Pap smear results
  • Hormonal changes from pregnancy or menopause.
  • Infection, like a yeast infection.
  • Inflammation.
  • Noncancerous cysts or growths.
  • Smoking or tobacco use.
  • Other health conditions, like an autoimmune disorder or diabetes.

What can throw off a Pap smear?

Not use vaginal creams, foams, gels, douches or tampons 48 hours (two days) before your Pap smear. These products could cause an abnormal result. Not have sex 48 hours (two days) before your Pap smear. Sex can irritate the skin of the cervix or cause discharge (fluids) that can lead to an abnormal result.

What can affect smear test results?

No screening test is 100% effective
  • an HPV infection or abnormal cells can sometimes be missed (a 'false negative' result)
  • abnormal cells can develop and turn into cancer in between screening tests.
  • there is a small chance that a result says abnormal cells are found when the cervix is normal (a 'false positive' result)

What can cause a false positive Pap smear?

It's also possible to get a “false positive” Pap result. The best way to avoid a false positive test is by avoiding certain things in the days leading up to your Pap smear, including tampons, sexual intercourse, and feminine products, including creams, suppositories, and sprays.

Can a UTI affect Pap smear results?

Possible reasons for abnormal Pap test results besides cancer include: Vaginal infection. Recent sexual activity. Urinary tract infection (UTI)


What can cause inflammation on a Pap smear?

Inflammation often causes a mildly abnormal Pap test. An inflamed cervix may look red, irritated, or eroded. Some of the common causes of cervical inflammation are: Bacteria (from an infection), yeast or monilia infections, or trichomonas infections.

Can a yeast infection throw off a Pap smear?

A yeast infection can impact the results of a Pap smear. The presence of a yeast infection can cause some cells to appear abnormal. However, these cells are not related to cancer. Yeast infections occur when the amount of Candida albicans, a type of yeast in the vagina, grows out of control.

How often are Pap smears wrong?

It's up to 30 percent of people [who] are falsely positive." Women who have a positive Pap smear generally get a colposcopy, which is an even closer examination of the cervix, vagina and vulva for signs of disease. A false positive could mean going through a biopsy during a colposcopy.

Can a Pap smear be false?

A Pap smear is a safe way to screen for cervical cancer. However, a Pap smear isn't foolproof. It's possible to receive false-negative results — meaning that the test indicates no abnormality, even though you do have abnormal cells. A false-negative result doesn't mean that a mistake was made.

How common is a false positive HPV and Pap smear?

It's up to 30 percent of people [who] are falsely positive." These false positive cases can lead to unnecessary, higher risk follow-up procedures, like biopsies. "That's a lot of women that are unnecessarily worried.

Can stress affect Pap smear results?

But she noted that many researchers speculate that stress may somehow be involved in cervical cancer because stressful times in women's lives can often be associated with abnormal Pap smear results.

What are the five categories of Pap smear abnormalities?

There are five main categories of abnormal Pap smear results within the Bethesda system:
  • Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC-US). ...
  • Squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL). ...
  • Atypical squamous cells that may or may not be HSIL (ASC-H). ...
  • Atypical glandular cells (AGC). ...
  • Cancer.

Can hormones cause abnormal Pap smear?

But sometimes, a health issue that's unrelated to cancer can also cause abnormal Pap results. These include: Hormonal changes from pregnancy or menopause. Infection, like a yeast infection.

What should you not do before a smear test?

It is recommended that you avoid sex for 24 hours before you have your smear test. Sex can cause the cells that line with your cervix, which are collected during your smear test, to become irritated and inflamed. This can interfere with your test results.

How do you fail a Pap smear?

Cause. Most abnormal Pap tests are caused by HPV infections. Other types of infection—such as those caused by bacteria, yeast, or protozoa (Trichomonas)—sometimes lead to minor changes on a Pap test called atypical squamous cells.

Can a Pap smear detect everything?

No. A Pap test can't reliably detect ovarian cancer. A Pap test is a procedure that involves collecting cells from your cervix and examining them under a microscope. A Pap test can detect cervical cancer and changes in your cervical cells that may increase your risk of cervical cancer in the future.

Can alcohol affect Pap smear results?

Background: Women with drug and alcohol addiction experience higher rates of abnormal Pap smears, late- or under- screening and psychosocial risk factors including domestic violence and sexual assault.

What should you avoid after a Pap smear?

Avoid sex and don't use a tampon in the two to three days following a Pap smear if you're experiencing bleeding. The additional pressure may cause bleeding to start again or become heavier.

Can bacteria cause abnormal Pap smears?

Most abnormal Pap tests are caused by HPV infections. Other types of infection—such as those caused by bacteria, yeast, or protozoa (Trichomonas)—sometimes lead to minor changes on a Pap test called atypical squamous cells.

How common is unsatisfactory Pap smear?

An unsatisfactory cytology result is reported when there are insufficient cells for the cytopathologist to properly evaluate the specimen. This occurs in approximately 2% of cytologic samples.

What can cause a false negative Pap smear?

Other adhesion molecules also may be involved in the process. Possible alternative reasons for false-negative Pap smears include poor cell sample collection, mistakes in transferring cells to slides and human error in evaluating the collected cells.

What happens if you keep having abnormal Pap smears?

If they appear to be abnormal, your doctor will order more tests, including a colposcopy, to find out for sure if it's cancer. Squamous cell cancer or adenocarcinoma cells. This means the cells on your cervix are so abnormal, your doctor is almost certain it's cancer.

What infections can a smear test pick up?

Screening will pick up human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, which causes the cell changes that could lead to cervical cancer. Even if you haven't had sex for years, you should still attend screening because you may have come into contact with HPV from a previous partner, months or even years ago.

Can bacterial infection affect Pap smear?

When you develop bacterial vaginosis, the balance has become upset. This condition is treatable, but when present, it can cause an abnormal pap smear result. If the condition is untreated, it can lead to more serious problems.

Does BV show up on Pap smear?

In the present study, conventional Pap smear demonstrates good accuracy to detect BV. Pap testing for cervical cancer screening can additionally serve as an effective screening tool for diagnosing BV among women with genital infection in healthcare settings.