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Abnormal Pap Test - What Increases Your Risk

Most cervical cell changes that cause an abnormal Pap test are the result of sexual transmission of HPV disease. High-risk sexual behaviors by you or your partner at some time, possibly even many years ago, may lead to HPV infection. High-risk sexual behaviors increase your risk of infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Other risk factors that may also play a role in increasing your risk for cervical cell changes include:

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  • Smoking.
  • Having an impaired immune system.
  • Having multiple full-term pregnancies (high parity).
  • Being exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero, though this is rare.

If you have had one abnormal Pap test result, you may be at higher risk for having another abnormal Pap test in the future.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 17, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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