One of the most prevalent health conditions affecting female patients is the development of cervical cancer. These cancerous growths in the cervix can affect a woman’s fertility. It is critical to seek appropriate medical intervention for cervical cancer to manage the spread of the tumor and preserve other reproductive organs. Physicians at Contemporary Women’s Care recommend specific screening tests, including a pap smear that tests for the presence of precancerous and cancerous tests in the opening of the vagina.
A pal smear is a straightforward procedure involving gynecologists scraping cervical cells to test for abnormal growths indicating cervical cancer. Patients should not expect to spend a night in hospital after a pap smear because the procedure is in-office. Although the discomfort from a pap smear is mild, you should not expect to experience any long-term pain.
Who should get a pap smear?
Women over 25 should schedule regular cervical screening tests to determine any abnormalities in cell growth and manage the condition early before it progresses to severe stages. You may need more frequent tests if you have the following risk factors for disease:
- You are HIV positive: This health condition involves a weak immune system making patients vulnerable to abnormal cell growth.
- You have undergone chemotherapy or organ transplant: These procedures predispose a patient to cervical cancer due to the weakened immune system.
It is essential to discuss with your doctor about combining your pap smear test with an HPV test that occurs every five years. HPV types 16 and 18 are risk factors for cervical cancer.
How often should you undergo a pal smear?
Women who are below 21 years do not need to get a pap smear. You should get a pap smear every three years if you are between 21 -29. Women between 30-65 years old need a pap smear every year and a complementary HPV test every five years. However, it might be convenient to combine the test and undergo both after five years.
How should you prepare for a pap smear?
You should schedule a pap smear during your annual gynecologic examination. However, you may schedule a separate appointment with your primary care provider.
It is essential to reschedule the test during your menstrual flow. Your periods will interfere with results accuracy. Physicians advise patients to avoid intercourse and ditching the day before the procedure.
Getting a pap smear for the first 24 weeks of pregnancy is no problem. Afterward, a woman will have to wait 12 weeks after giving birth to undergo the test to enhance results accuracy.
It is essential to remain calm during the procedure. If you are anxious, you may want to take deep breaths. This technique will help your body relax, making it seamless and less painful.
Patients should appreciate the significance of undergoing pap smears by trained and experienced gynecologists to enhance the reliability of results. Contact Contemporary Women’s Care to get accurate pap smear results that indicate your cervical cancer status and discuss with a specialist about management options.