Do you Know These Details about Pap Smears?
- Posted on: Aug 30 2017
Gynecologic exams can be more than slightly unnerving for many women. We understand, and we make it a priority to foster emotional and physical comfort for our patients that enable them to more easily stay on top of their well-woman care. The field of gynecology undergoes changes as new data is revealed by research. Because of this, misconceptions can stand between a woman and her gynecological care. Let’s look at a few important details about the Pap exam performed to observe cervical cells.
- A Pap need not be on your annual to-do list. In recent years, the guidelines set forth by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have changed. Women in their 20s should schedule their Pap every three years. From age 30 to 65, Paps may decrease to every 5 years if HPV testing is performed simultaneously. Past the age of 65, women who have had normal Pap results no longer need to undergo this exam.
- HPV should be on your radar. Research has identified two particular strains of HPV, human papilloma virus, in the development of cervical cancers. This information has led to a recommendation that every woman schedule an HPV test sometime during her 30s, and after that as recommended by her healthcare provider.
- We want to know how you’re feeling! For some women, gynecological exams can be particularly difficult on an emotional level. If the idea of a Pap or pelvic exam provokes intense anxiety, tell us. It is not difficult to make accommodations for patients who need a little extra comfort.
- An abnormal pap doesn’t necessarily signal cancer. There are other reasons besides cancerous cells that could explain an abnormal result. In most cases, the reason for an abnormal Pap is an infection, which can disrupt the cells on the cervix. False positives are also possible. If a Pap is atypical, further testing will be scheduled to obtain more cells from the cervix for microscopic examination. A small amount of cervical tissue may also be collected for analysis.
Pap and pelvic exams are an important aspect of well-woman care. Contact us to schedule your well-woman visit.
Posted in: Pap Smears