Spotlight On: Had An Abnormal Smear Test Result? Here’s What Happens Next 7 years ago

Spotlight On: Had An Abnormal Smear Test Result? Here’s What Happens Next

Over the last number of months, we’ve learned a thing or two about the wide range of contraceptives that are available on the market today.

Now, we are going to continue our focus on health by studying a wide range of different illnesses and ailments.


Last week, we looked at what to expect when you go to get tested for a sexually transmitted infection. This week we will be focusing on what happens if you have had a not normal smear test.


A frequent smear test is vitally important for women across the country and though it might not be the most comfortable few minutes of your life, it’s well worth your while.

If you are aged between 25 and 60 you are entitled to a free smear test and should avail of this on a regular basis.


Read more about the importance of smear tests here.

I've been told my smear test showed some irregularities. Have I got cancer?

It is rare that an abnormal smear result immediately means that you have cancer. About one in 20 women will have a not normal smear test in comparison to about one in 2,000 who will have cervical cancer.

Doctor with young woman


It recommends that I wait three months for my next smear. Why?

After a smear test, it is recommended that you wait for three months until your next smear test so that there will be enough cells present for this test.

This is due to the fact that the cells of the cervix need at least three months to grow back after a smear test.

Where can I get a copy of my smear test results?


The doctor or nurse who took your smear test should be able to provide you with a copy of your results.

Doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patient


I have been told I need a colposcopy. What is that?

A colposcopy is a simple examination of the cervix and is carried out at a colposcopy clinic as an outpatient.


You have been advised to undergo this examination because your smear test has showed signs of changes in the cells of your cervix.

These changes are an early warning that cervical cancer may develop if the cells are left untreated.

The colposcopy examination allows the doctor or nurse to decide if you need treatment.


Before a colposcopy

You can eat and drink as normal before a colposcopy.

If your period is due, you should contact the clinic and discuss options with them.

During a colposcopy

If the doctor or nurse sees any abnormalities in the area, they may take a small sample of tissue from the surface of your cervix.

This is perfectly normal and is called a cervical biopsy. Some women may feel a slight pinching sensation.


After a colposcopy

You will be able to carry on as normal after a colposcopy examination.

You will need to return for a follow-up visit after the colposcopy, and some women may require a second treatment.

 If you need more information on smear tests, cervical checks or having a colposcopy you can find out more information here.