What Is a Pap Smear; Everything You Need to Know

Preventing diseases is better than treating them. Preventative care not only preserves your health but also promotes your life quality. There are different ways to do that, the basic one being attending your regular health check-ups.

A pap smear is also a part of a preventative service that helps detect cervical cancer. South Charleston Pap smear specialists at Patel & Patel, M.D., Inc. conduct thorough tests to evaluate your health. If you have not taken your test yet, consider calling the practice to schedule your appointment.

What Is a Pap Smear?

A pap smear is a test carried out on cervix cells to detect any signs of cervical cancer. The test is common during an annual women’s checkup, also known as a Pap test.

Who Should Have a Pap Smear?

It is recommended for women aged 21years old and above to have a pap smear regularly or as scheduled by a gynecologist. The schedule may vary from a year to three and five years, depending on age and needs.

At Patel & Patel, M.D., Inc., your provider will find you a suitable schedule, depending on your medical history and risk factors for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screening continues for many women until the age of 65.

Certain risk factors that may require you to have more frequent pap smears include:

  •         HIV infection.
  •         Smoking history.
  •         Exposure to diethylstilbestrol before birth.
  •         Weakened immune system.
  •         A diagnosis of cervical cancer with precancerous cells.

What to Expect From a Pap Smear Appointment?

For an effective Pap smear, it is advisable to avoid sexual intercourse or any vaginal medicines or creams two days before your test. It is also best not to schedule your pap smear during your menstrual period.

The test occurs as part of a well-woman exam and only takes a few minutes. During the pap smear test, your provider requests you to lie on a table, placing your feet in stirrups.

The provider inserts a speculum into your vagina, allowing visualization and access to the cervix to take a sample of the cells. He takes the sample to the lab to evaluate early signs of cervical cancer, among other problems.

What Happens When the Pap Smear Test Brings Abnormal Results?

Having abnormal results from a Pap smear test is normal, and you should not worry. The results may be abnormal and do not mean you have cancer.

Your provider will discuss the results with you and take you through the necessary steps. However, the physician repeats the test after some days before taking other steps.

A pap smear provides early detection of cervical cancer, meaning they can begin their treatment immediately, preventing the disease from progressing. However, the treatment method will depend on the severity of the problem and the time of discovery.

The Bottom Line

A pap smear helps detect abnormal cervical cancer cells in your cervix. When detected early, it enhances early treatments promoting healing and lowering the risk of complications.

Doctors recommend a pap smear every year for women aged 21 years and above. Schedule your pap smear test today by calling Patel & Patel M.D, Inc. for your appointment.

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