Inflammation of the cervix should not be taken as indicative of any disease, according to Canadian research.
Some 411 women having smear tests were looked at by researchers at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Newfoundland.
Of the 132 whose smears showed up inflammatory changes, 48 per cent were subsequently found to have some kind of infection. However, of the 248 who showed no signs of inflammation, 47 per cent had an infection.
The researchers say there are currently no guidelines on how doctors should respond to smear reports of inflammation.