Birth Control/HPV


"I am a 59 yr old female, I had a 'bad' pap smear in 1993 when still living in the UK, I had a leep procedure in the US. In 1999 I had a full hysterectomy because of a large fibroid. My gynecologist thinks I should only have a pap smear every 5 years but I have heard after having a 'bad' pap smear I am susceptible to other cancers, there has been a lot of publicity about this and I am a bit worried. Should I also be having an HPV test regularly? Also is my husband of almost 20 years in danger?  Thank you"

After a hysterectomy, we generally advise no further Pap smears, even with a history of an abnormal Pap smear.  Almost all abnormal Pap smears are either of no consequence or are the results of precancerous changes of the cervix.  You apparently had precancerous changes, but presumably that was cured by the leep procedure.  Once the cervix has been removed by hysterectomy, there is no longer any risk of these changes, since any changes occur in the cervix, and it's gone.  Some doctors still may recommend occasional Pap smears, but I don't think there is really any need, although your doctor may know something I don't.  We also don't do HPV testing after a hysterectomy, since almost all the problems associated with HPV are in the cervix.  HPV can also cause other cancers, such as vulva, vagina, anus and throat, but we rely on exam of suspicious areas to find them, and they are far more rare than cervical cancer.  Your husband has the same risk as any other man, and it's small.  Both of you should have periodic exams, and report any abnormal areas to your doctor.

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Norman Solberg


I am an OB-GYN physician. I can answer almost any question related to women's health.


35 years in an active OB-GYN practice.

Fellow, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

MD OB-GYN specialist

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