Posts for tag: Pap Smear
Are you unsure if you need a Pap smear? The gynecologists at Women's Medical Center in Dothan, AL, explain why Pap smears are recommended and discuss how often you really need them.
What is a Pap smear?
Pap smears detect cervical cancer and pre-cancerous changes to your cervix. A small sample of cells is collected from your cervix and examined for abnormalities using a microscope. The test only takes seconds and is performed by using a swab to collect cells from surface of your cervix. You may feel a little pressure during the test, but it usually isn't painful. A little bit of bleeding isn't unusual after a Pap smear.
When do I need a Pap smear?
Pap smear recommendations have changed in the past few years. Although you may have gotten the test every year under the previous guidelines, you may not need the test as often now. Pap smears are recommended every three years beginning at age 21. Once you're 30, you might only need the test every five years if the Pap smear and a human papilloma virus (HPV) test are negative. If you are over 65, you may not need to get Pap smears anymore. You can stop having the test if you've had at least three negative smears over the last 10 years. The test also isn't needed if you no longer have a cervix.
If you do have abnormal results at some point, you may need to receive more frequent Pap smears in our Dothan office. Abnormal results don't automatically mean that you have cancer. In many cases, a follow-up test may be negative.
How do I prepare for a Pap smear?
Douching, sexual intercourse and tampon usage can interfere with the accuracy of Pap smears. Avoid using douches or tampons or having sex for 24 hours before your appointment.
Don't put your health at risk by avoiding Pap smears. This simple test will help you ensure you receive prompt treatment should you experience any abnormal changes to your cervical cells. If it's time for your next appointment, call the gynecologists at Women's Medical Center in Dothan, AL, at (334) 793-3900 to schedule your visit.
Your Dothan, AL gynecologist answers the most common questions regarding getting a pap smear.
If you are a woman in her teen years or even early twenties then it’s time to start thinking about getting routine gynecological exams in Dothan, Al. To protect and maintain good reproductive health, you should see your gynecologist once a year for an exam and pap smear. If this is your first pap smear, find out more about the purpose of this procedure and why every woman should have one.
What is a pap smear?
A pap smear is a test that looks for the presence of precancerous and cancerous cervical cells. The goal of this test is to detect problems before they turn into cancer so they can be treated easily and effectively.
When should women start getting pap smears?
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend that women should start getting regular pap smears around 21 years old. Women should continue to get a pap smear every year during their annual gynecological exam. Even women who have received the HPV vaccine should still continue to get annual screenings.
What should I expect from my pap smear?
During the pelvic exam, your Dothan, Al gynecologist will collect some cells from the cervix to have analyzed. This part of the exam won’t take more than a minute. Some patients will experience some cramping after their pap smear; however, the cramps should be mild and feel no different from menstrual cramps.
What should I do prior to my pap smear?
We recommend that you schedule your pap smear when you don’t have your period, as this can sometimes affect the results. Furthermore, avoid using tampons, douching or having sex for two days prior to your pap smear.
What should I expect after my pap smear?
It takes a couple of weeks to get the results back regarding your pap smear. If your results are negative then you won’t have to worry about getting another pap smear until the following year.
If your test comes back positive, try not to panic. There are several reasons why you might have a positive result that are indicative of cancer. If your test comes back positive we will have you come back for a repeat test and examination and then discuss your results and treatment options once we make an accurate diagnosis.
If it’s time to schedule your annual exam or pap smear, then contact your Dothan, AL gynecologist at the Women’s Medical Center today and take charge of your reproductive health.