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Abnormal smear - does this mean I have HPV

(9 Posts)
Gangle Sun 28-Jun-09 22:48:00

Test showed mild changes - they will re-test in 6 months to give it time to correct itself. Just reading up on it on mumsnet and alternating between feeling reassured and completely panicked, especially what I'm reading about HPV. Does an abnormal result mean I have this? I've had numerous texts and sexual health screenings over the years, inc with pregnancy, and this was never picked up. Also still breastfeeding and wondering if this has any effect of the result.

whomovedmychocolate Sun 28-Jun-09 22:52:12

Mild changes means that there are some mild changes to the cells that's all - it does not necessarily indicate HPV. Stop Googling and reading Mumsnet and worrying yourself.

Quite often it's because you have a bruise on your cervix from sex or that you do have something going on but it just fixes itself.

If it was serious you would be back there within three months! Six months is 'hmm that's interesting, let's just recheck just on the offchance'.

Gangle Sun 28-Jun-09 23:34:33

thanks whomoved. Very hard not to worry. Imagining all sorts. Do you think it helps to get a second opinion (privately)?

Pheebe Mon 29-Jun-09 08:10:06

In case you check back...agree with whomovedmychocolate and its important to remember that even if it is due to an hpv infection most such infections resolve themselves with no intervention and cause no lasting harm. This is why they wait for 6 months and retest.

whomovedmychocolate Mon 29-Jun-09 14:49:57

Gangle - no it's not worth a second opinion. Your smear will already have been looked at by at least two people (when they are positive they are passed for checking again by someone else).

BellaNoir Mon 29-Jun-09 21:25:52

It will have probably been looked by three people. We have years of training and many qualifications. Our work is constantly monitored and we are tested with external samples every 6 months too.
These changes can be caused by HPV but there are different types of the virus and it isn't necessarily the high risk type. Most mild changes do go away by themselves given time for the body to deal with them.
The result can also be due to infections such as candida, use of an IUD/IUCD, hormonal changes such as using depo provera.
Most people will have had HPV at some stage in their lives and it goes away again, some just happen to
have a smear test then.
Try not to worry and you'll get a letter reminding you to
go back for a repeat test in 6 months.

asteamedpoater Tue 30-Jun-09 22:30:48

You can only get the HPV test privately, and only if you specifically ask for it, because it is not a standard sexual health test on the NHS in England - the smear test is designed to pick up HPV changes if the virus is actually causing any issues and if it isn't causing issues, you can't do anything to cure it or get rid of it, anyway, you just have to wait until you do get changes (if ever) or your immune system deals with it. Therefore, no amount of previous sexual health screening you have had is likely to have identified HPV infection before now (unless you've had visible genital warts, which are a low-risk-for-cervical-cancer form of the HPV virus), even if you have had HPV in your cervix for years.

As for whether mild changes mean you do definitely have HPV, I think mild dyskariosis does mean you are very likely to have one of the types of HPV (borderline changes are more likely to describe oddities that can't definitely be ascribed to HPV, I think - although bear in mind, I'm neither a doctor nor do I work in cytology, whereas BellaNoir does and she's set out a few other reasons for getting mild abnormalities on your report), but false positives are of course a possibility. Mild changes frequently go back to normal by themselves and if they don't, the are most likely to take years to develop into anything more serious. Of course you are going to worry about this a bit until your next smear test - the reality of you being affected is not at all the same as the theory of someone else being affected(!), as I know, hence my knowledge on the subject, being an avid researcher when paranoid - but a mildly abnormal result is really not objectively frightening. In fact, you could see it as a good thing for your sexual health, because you are now going to get more regular smear tests than other women are entitled to for a while, thus reducing the risk that anything gets missed in future.

33k Tue 30-Jun-09 22:52:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kewcumber Tue 30-Jun-09 23:04:35

I'm not quite clear what you are worried about.

Is it having HPV at all? If so you're in good company the majority of sexually active people will have the virus and in itself its a pretty benign virus. No screenings for it becasue its so common and has no symptoms unless it starts going a bit nuts around your cervix.

Or is it that you are worried about cervical cancer? All you have at the moment are a bunch of cells behaving a bit oddly. The majority at this stage calm down after the party and nothing more happens. Occasionally the odd behaviour doesn't go away and as a precaution these cells are removed.

I had abnormal cells far more advanced than yours, too far even to be able to laser them off and I had to have them removed surgically. That was over 6 years ago and have annual smears - with no problems since then.

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