Birth control pill use and risk of abnormal Pap test

Women who use birth control pills may be more likely to have abnormal Pap tests. Some studies have shown that women who use birth control pills for many years may have an increased risk of cervical cancer. The reasons for this are not fully known but may be related to infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).1

For sexually active women, male or female condoms may help reduce transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Using condoms may also help prevent the spread of HPV. Women who use birth control pills should consider also using condoms to avoid STDs. Regularly scheduled Pap tests are important to identify cervical cell changes.


  1. Madeleine MM, et al. (2001). Human papillomavirus and long-term oral contraceptive use increase the risk of adenocarcinoma in situ of the cervix. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, 10: 171–177.

Last Updated: January 5, 2009

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