All abnormal Pap tests require follow-up. In some cases, you may need further testing or treatment. In other cases, your doctor may recommend a period of watchful waiting that includes repeat Pap tests.
- Be certain to complete any additional testing that your doctor recommends. This includes repeat Pap tests as well as any other tests.
- If a vaginal infection or a treatable sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused your abnormal test results, you will probably need medicine. Take all the medicine as directed by your doctor. If you skip doses or do not take all your medicine, the problem may come back.
To reduce your risk of cervical problems:
- Have regular Pap tests. Regular Pap tests almost always detect cervical cell changes before the changes become cancerous. Regular screening for and treatment of cervical cell abnormalities can prevent cancer. You and your doctor can decide how often you need to be tested.
- Reduce your risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases by practicing safer sex. Use condoms until you are certain that neither you nor your partner has an STD. To prevent STDs, condoms must be put on before beginning any sexual contact.
- Quit smoking. Women who smoke are at higher risk of developing cervical cell changes that cause an abnormal Pap test. The reason for this is not fully understood.