Is a Biopsy Necessary Every Time You Have an Abnormal Pap Smear?

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Pelvic Health

Dear Dr. Northrup,

My 27-year-old daughter has had abnormal Pap smears. In all, there were three tests, six months apart, with mild abnormalities. Two biopsies revealed that there were no cancerous or pre-cancerous cells. If the Pap smears remain abnormal, should she continue to have biopsies each time, as her doctor suggests?

Thanks – G.E.

Dear G.E.,

Your daughter’s problem is very, very common. Here’s the good news: Mild cervical dysplasia (abnormal cells) goes away on its own 50% of the time. That means that the body’s natural immunity takes care of the problem. But to speed things along, I recommend that she get her vitamin D level to an optimal level of 40-100 ng/ml, which may mean as much as 5,000 IU of vitamin D per day for a month or more. She also needs a good pharmaceutical grade antioxidant supplement program. Smoking is known to cause abnormal pap smears. So if she’s a smoker, she needs to stop.

Getting biopsies is very stressful. I’d opt for trusting the body’s ability to heal (assuming that she’s a non-smoker and isn’t on any drugs that depress immunity, e.g., a steroid like prednisone). That means giving an improved nutritional program a full six months to work. I’m willing to bet that the abnormal pap smears go away, if she follows my advice.

Note that there is a comprehensive Pelvic Health program in the new Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. I recommend that you read that as well for additional information!

Keep me posted – C.N.

Last Updated: January 14, 2011

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


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  1. kristin klein
    2 years ago

    Has anyone had this happen? I was told about abnormal test results for a Pap smear ten months after I had gotten a Pap smear. I’m now going in after a colposcopy to sit down and get results. The doctor said something about a possible surgery? I’m trying to figure out my next course of action in regards to the pelvic pain. I feel like whatever it is could resolve on its own. I’ve had some spotting and sharp pain in my pelvic region recently since the colposcopy but no fever/infection. I’ve looked up nutritional stuff. I was given Levofloxacin for possible infection. Any other recommendations?

  2. Nancy
    6 years ago

    do you believe in doing a biopsy of a nodule that was benign in 2012 and has grown a bit?
    Did an utrasound March 9th waited did another April 9th has decreased a tinnny bit!

  3. Julie
    7 years ago

    I am 61 and was dx. as HPV +. I have had 2 paps with CIN 1 and the lastest one is CIN2. I have had 3 colposcopys that have been OK. MY gyn is now asking me if I want to wait 6 months for another pap/colp or have a LEEP. I don’t know what to do.

  4. Jamila
    9 years ago

    I had a pap smear 3 weeks ago. Last week I had a in-office biopsy because the pap had “mild-moderate abnormal” cells. My Ob-Gyn explained the degrees of abnormalities stating a “severe” stage could be cancersous. Well, today, 6-30-2015, she called and said that this biopsy showed “moderate” abnormalities and was more precise than a pap. But to make sure there’s no cancer I need a cone biopsy. I feel like she’s not being completely transparent…and her ultimate goal is a hysterectomy. Please help me…is this procedure really necessary or do I need a second opinon and how would I get it?

    1. Jamila
      9 years ago

      I have more information: My pap smear was CIN 1, the in-office biopsy was CIN 2 – CIN 3. My Ob-Gyn wants to do a cone biopsy because of the results of the first biopsy. I’m reluctant because I don’t want to invite cancer into my body by having this invasive procedure.

  5. Joy
    9 years ago

    If one has had “normal” pap smears for at least 10 years is there a need to continue to have them done annually when they are excruciatingly painful—-my MD says no—-true or false? Thanks

  6. Danielle
    9 years ago

    So glad I saw this on your website. I am sick of my OBGYN “sticking to the book” and giving me coploscopy after coploscopy for low-grade/mild dysplasia. Each time the results come back negative. But each time I get an abnormal PAP, they want to scare me into having this procedure immediately. It’s frustrating and annoying.

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