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Preparation for Pap Smear Test by Gynaecologist

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“It’s just routine,” “It’s standard procedure,” “It’s just in case,” “It’s only a precaution.” These are the things we say to ourselves when going in for our regular pap smears – or regular medical exams of any kind. Most patients enter a doctor’s office for a routine exam expecting to leave with nothing more than brownie points for showing up, doing their due diligence, and being perfectly healthy. Statistics say it’s very unlikely the doctor will find anything, right? But, unlikely is not the same as impossible. Whatever the figures are – 90 percent are fine, or 98 percent are fine – somebody makes up that ten percent, or two percent. And it really sucks when it’s you.

Our first inclination is usually to dive into the unpredictable world wide web for answers, but it’s far better to consult a certified expert when there’s an abnormality. We spoke with Dr. Lorie Johnson, a Board-certified Ob/Gyn and the owner of Just For You Women’s Healthcare, a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Lorie Johnson

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What are the causes of abnormal paps?

“One of the main causes of an abnormal pap is HPV, which is an STD, and is probably the most common STD that we see nowadays,” says Johnson. “It’s spread virally, and its symptoms are very insidious. Many people don’t have any symptoms at all so it gets spread very easily. Other causes can be inflammation, or anything going on in your own body like an infection, or an autoimmune condition.”

Dr. Johnson adds that sometimes an abnormal pap can occur simply because the pap was performed too close to your period, so some additional cells pop up.

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