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Abnormal Pap Test - When To Call a Doctor

Most problems that cause abnormal Pap tests do not cause symptoms, so you won't know you have cervical cell changes. Regular Pap testing is needed to detect early cervical cell changes.

Call your doctor if:

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  • You have unexpected bleeding between menstrual periods, especially if you are not using any hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills.
  • You have bleeding after douching or sexual intercourse.

If you think you may have symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), call your doctor for an appointment. Avoid sexual intercourse until you have been treated for your symptoms and can no longer infect your partner.

If your sex partner has symptoms of an STI, both of you should be evaluated by a doctor. If you have been diagnosed with an STI, such as genital warts, your sex partner(s) may want to be evaluated.

If you have had an abnormal Pap test, be certain to complete any additional testing or treatment that your doctor recommends. You and your doctor can decide how often Pap test screening should continue or whether other tests are needed.

Who To See

Your family doctor or any of the following health professionals can manage an abnormal Pap test:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician assistant
  • Internist
  • Gynecologist

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 28, 2010
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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