Help Me to Not Freak Out, Please!

When I got home from work this evening, my husband told me that my OB/Gyn had called. They want me to call back tomorrow. I had an abnormal pap.

I have never, ever had an abnormal pap. I have been having these things done for 16 years. Needless to say, I’m a bit freaked. I know it could me nothing, but it could be major. What happens now? I assume I’ll have to go back, but what will they do?

Thanks in advance for any advice!


You just had a baby didn’t you? It’s quite common for there to be “abnormal” cells on the cervix after a pregnancy. My first pap after my daughter was born was like that. They will just ask you to have another one in a while and it will most likely be fine. Mine was. They are just being careful and that’s good.

yep, it’s scary alright. Most times, any questions are resolved by a second test which shows no problem. Labs will always try to err on the side of caution. Remember that the odds are in your favor that this is will prove to be a false alarm. No doubt you’ll be anxious until you get it resolved - no matter what anyone says to you. Take a deep breath - or several and think good thoughts even though the waiting is hell. Don’t freak. It takes too much energy

I’ve had abnormal paps. The first one was after sleeping with someone I shouldn’t have. He gave me Chlamidya (sp?), it was caught, I took a round of pills and dumped the guy. No worse for the wear now.

The second time was 5-6 years later. They called, I went in, had another pap. It came back normal, and nothing else happened. No big deal at all. They told me that any number of things could have caused it - a mistake at the lab, a slight infection that cleared up on its own, anything. That was a few years ago, and I haven’t had any problems since.

And if you had sex 24 hours before the pap, that could do it too. Those cervix cells seem to “inflame” at the slightest provocation, and that causes the dreaded abnormal result.

Poor Cristi! Been down the biopsy road myself, so I know a bit how it is. No fun at all, is how it is :frowning:

Everybody’s right; this happens, and it nearly always means nothing. There are a million possible causes, and a very few of them are bad. Hang in – all I can advise is try not to obsess. Just tell yourself that whatever it turns out to be, you can handle it. And remember that it almost always turns out to be nothing at all.


Time for me to tell this story again.

In December, I had an abnormal pap. My GYN left a message with one of my roommates to call the office. Needless to say, I didn’t get it. I found out when I went in to get my prescription for birth control pills filled in February. I had another pap done in June. It was also abnormal.

At that point, they scheduled me for a colposcopy and biopsy, which I didn’t manage to fit into my schedule until September. I got up ready to experience quite a bit of pain. They didn’t find a damn thing with the colposcope, so no biopsy. Everything came back fine.

I still have no clue what was the matter. I do, however, get to have pap smears every 4 months for two years because of it. Joy.

Yes, I did just have a baby. I had the pap done at my six-week checkup (it was just about time for my yearly anyway, so while the doctor was down there, you know?) This is my third baby, and my fifth pregnancy. I’ve never had anything abnormal come up before. I called my mom, and she said the same thing about just having a baby might cause something weird to happen.

I’m more freaked out than normal, I think, because I was just telling my husband yesterday that I was thinking about calling my doctor. I’ve been having some pain in my lower back that doesn’t want to go away. And two weeks ago, my grandmother died of bone cancer. So I’m a little hypersensitive. Argh. Thanks for making me feel better, though. Sounds like my odds are pretty good on it just being a fluke. :slight_smile:

Poor Christi, things are really hitting you right and left.
But no, there’s no need to panic or worry yet. A lot of things (minor) can cause an “abnormal” on a Pap. You’re doing the right thing in getting it checked out, but odds are excellent it’s nothing to worry about.
Hang in there, kiddo, and keep us posted, okay?


Hey Cristi: Let me be the first male intruder here. Just to tell you that I know really next to nothing about those…things :). But, oddly enough, even before reading the first post, I had thought of dropping a few lines to you to suggest that there might be a link between your recent delivery and the results of your latest PAP. So that HAS to be it, right? :smiley:

I’m sure the results of your second one will be just fine. No sweat.

I have gone through the abnormal pap situation too. I had the colposcopy, biopsy, and after the biopsy results, cryosurgery to remove abnormal cells. One pap after that was normal, the pap after that one has shown benign changes. I have to have paps every 4 months. Despite everything, my doctor has not indicated that this is anything to be concerned about, and I’m not worried.

Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.–Coleridge

Ditto what everybody else said, including the part about remember we’re here for you if you need us, and keep us, er, posted.


I would suggest you ask your Ob/Gyn what the pap said. Was it mild dysplasia or what?


One more voice chiming in to say that it isn’t all that unusual to have a pap come back abnormal after childbirt.

It scares to crap out of people. I know, been there done that.

Remember when I told you about the little girl Lion and I had who was stillborn ? Well I got a card in the mail from the clinic after my 6 weeks check up, it said the pap was showing some problems.

I went back and had it done again. It was fine.

So don’t worry. Easier said than done I know !

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS FOR CRISTI}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Ayesha - Lioness

There are two solutions to every problem : the wrong one, and mine
(Thomas A. Edison)

The lightbulb went on a little while ago. My sister had an abnormal pap several years ago. I called her, and she was very reassuring. She had the colposcopy (sp?), and it came back fine.

I feel really bad for my husband right now. Yesterday he got a phone call from his son’s mother (the two of them have been getting along very well since we got the child support paid up!). She’s having a mammogram tomorrow. She’s 29 years old, and her doctor found some lumps in her breast. He left for work tonight with a rather glazed expression. I’m sure both of us will be okay, though.

Cristi, don’t worry too much about the abnormal pap, or any irregular test that comes back. It’s hard not to worry about it, but until the follow up tests are done, there is really nothing you can do to make it better.Obsessing about it only sucks the life out of you and compromises your mental well being.

As for the pain in your back: is it like a muscular pain or a bone pain? You ( and any other woman with kids here knows) that as you get closer to delivering a baby your ligaments become softer and elongate to make the (watch for oxymoron) labor easier.

After labor they just don’t snap back into place ( and for you younger girls without kids, sometimes the muscles and ligaments never go back to their original elasticity. Sorry to break the bad news to you.But there it is, the cold hard truth. A waist is a terrible thing to mind :))

Since you have another little one at home and the baby ( and the hubby too :slight_smile: ) you may have …who am I kidding…you HAVE been overdoing it. Try stretching at night and heating pads, tylenol. Try to keep track of when the back pain bothers you and after a few weeks, if it hasn’t subsided, go to your doctor.

As you said, You probably are a little hypersensitive ( what new mom isn’t, with all those extra hormones running through your system) compounded by the loss of your beloved Grandma.You’ve had a rough couple of months! So every little twinge and ache is going to set off warning bells in your head. Take a deep breath (feel better?)and handle one catastrophe at a time.

We are here for you. :slight_smile:

Cristi - my thoughts are with you.

As others have, I’ve been there, done that. But I (and PLEASE don’t take this as a foreshadowing of doom or anything like that) had cancer. Ended up with surgery, the whole bit.

Just do what the doctor says, and my thoughts are with you.

Oh - and again, JUST BECAUSE IT HAPPENED TO ME, DOESN’T MEAN IT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!!! Keep your chin up hun. :slight_smile:


“If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.”

I went through this too about ten years ago. Pretty scary stuff, to be told you may have cancer when you’re only 20 years old. Luckily, it turned out to be just dysplasia, and all of my Pap smears have turned out normal since then. Just hang in there Christi…I’m sure everything will be fine. But, do not delay in going back in for testing. If it does indeed turn out to be cancer, they can start treating it immediately and the survival rate for cervical cancer is like 90-something percent.

“We are what we pretend to be.”

  • Kurt Vonnegut

I recall an article in a mainstream news magazine (Time? Newsweek?) recently which strongly recommended testing specifically for the human papilloma virus, which is supposed to be far more accurate and meaningful than the pap smear. The article went on to complain that insurance companies know this but don’t want to cover routine papilloma virus tests because they are expensive in comparison. Anyhow, perhaps worth your time to check into. Good luck.

::crossing fingers::

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Okay, talked to the doctor today. I’m having a colposcopy done on December 6th. She said whatever the problem is is not cancerous, but it’s serious enough to warrant going in there with a microscope. She also said that they may do a biopsy. I asked her if it could be related to the fact that I had just given birth, and she said no. So it’s not just an infection of some sort, like I was hoping.

What’s really cheesing me off about this is that my reproductive organs have been the focal point of my existence all year. I just wanted to give them a rest. Oh well. She told me to take some pain medication before I had the colposcopy. I understand that my cervix is going to get somewhat irritated by this, but how bad is the pain, really? I mean, will I be able to function afterwards, or should I farm out my kids & spend the rest of the day on the couch?

Thanks for all the support, guys. I really do appreciate it!