Have you ever received a copy of your Pap test in the mail, only to be completely befuddled by what it means? Let me decode the mysterious language, and what it means for you.

Phrases that mean everything's fine:
    • Endocervical cells present
    • Squamous metaplastic cells present
    • Transformation zone component present
    • Negative for intraepithelial lesion or malignancy
Phrases that indicate a problem:
    • Atypical squamous cells of uncertain significance. Also called "ASCUS." The pathologist sees abnormal cells, but doesn't know why. Could be an infection, could be the start of a true abnormality. Your gyno will either repeat the test in 6-12 months, or order an HPV test.
    • Atypical glandular cells of uncertain significance. Also called "AGUS." Could be you were near your period. Your gyno may want to do a small biopsy of the lining of your uterus.
    • Cannot rule out high-grade abnormality (or SIL). Your gyno will perform colposcopy, a special exam of your cervix, and possibly take biopsies.
    • Low-grade or high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL or HSIL). Both will get you colposcopy.
Have you seen anything else strange on your pap test result?


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Em & Lo, more formally known as Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey, are the self-proclaimed Emily Posts of the modern bedroom.

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