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Abnormal Pap Smear

General Information

Cervical dysplasia is the presence of abnormal cells on your cervix. It can range from mild to severe. Depending on the severity, dysplasia can be considered a precancerous condition but does NOT represent cancer of the cervix. Dysplasia is often associated with HPV (human papilloma virus) infection.

Risk increases with:

  • Smoking
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Repeated infections
  • Diet lacking folic acid
  • Early onset of sexual activity
  • History of HPV infections

Preventive Measures:

  • Decrease number of sexual partners
  • Don't Smoke
  • Use condoms
  • Increase folic acid intake


Spontaneous reversal occurs in a significant number of people. Continued screening with Pap smears is recommended. Severe dysplasia may progress to cancer, this is why it is important for continued follow-up.

To confirm diagnosis, colposcopy is necessary. A colposcope is an optical instrument used to visualize the cervix and also used to perform biopsies.

Treatment depends on the degree of dysplasia. Your provider will discuss your specific findings. In general treatment can be as simple as observation and follow-up pap, it can be a simple office or outpatient procedure and in rare events it can be major surgery. Regardless of treatment close follow up with Pap smears is of extreme importance.

For more information from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists>

Last Updated: 1/7/2014