We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Vaginal Cytology?

By Lucinda Reynolds
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The study of cells is called cytology. This specialized branch of science studies the anatomy of cells and how individual cells react to other cells. Vaginal cytology is the study of cells that are obtained from the vaginal area. Abnormal cells found in the vaginal area can be an indicator of specific types of cancer or disease.

Vaginal cytology is important for determining a woman's risk for developing cervical cancer. Samples of cervical cells are usually obtained during a routine Pap test. These cells are examined by a lab, and the findings are sent to the doctor. If abnormal cells are present, the doctor must make the determination if further testing is necessary based on the vaginal cytology report.

The presence of abnormal cervical cells on the cervix is called cervical dysplasia. There are various causes of cervical dysplasia. One of the most common causes is the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV.) This sexually transmitted disease can cause cervical cell changes. In some cases, the presence of HPV can lead to cervical cancer.

A cytology report the doctor receives from a vaginal smear will most likely utilize the Bethesda system for classification of vaginal cytology. A negative result will indicate there are no abnormal cells present. An unsatisfactory result means the sample contains inadequate cells for testing. The doctor may want to repeat the Pap test because of poor sampling.

Benign results from vaginal cytology mean there are no cancer cells present but there may be infection or irritation. If the cytology report shows atypical cells present, this means there are cell changes on the cervix that needs to be monitored. Low-grade changes in cytology usually will indicate the presence of HPV. This may or may not lead to cancer cells.

High-grade changes in the vaginal cytology indicate more severe cell changes. This puts a woman at a higher risk for developing cervical cancer. If the high-grade changes are left untreated, she may develop squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma. This means cancer is present, and it requires immediate treatment to prevent spreading.

Doctors usually recommend yearly Pap tests for women who are sexually active. If there are changes in the vaginal cytology, the doctor may recommend more frequent testing based upon the type of changes. If a woman has normal cytology on three consecutive Pap tests, the doctor may recommend getting checked once every three years.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.