What Exactly Is a Pap Smear? Do I Really Need To Get One?

Pap Smear
by Davao Today

Pap smears test for cervical cancer in women. They can help to determine if you are at a higher risk for cervical cancer as well. When doctors perform pap smears, they collect cells from your cervix for testing.

Your cervix is just a few inches inside of your vagina. You will be asked to undress either completely or from the waist down for the procedure. A speculum is inserted so that your doctor can more easily get to your cervix. Cell samples are taken with a small brush or spatula. This is usually painless and is sometimes undetectable by the patient.

A pap smear helps your doctor to find cancerous or precancerous cells. Early detection is helpful when treating cervical cancer and can greatly improve your chances of overcoming this disease. A pap smear enables your doctor to initiate treatment of unusual or precancerous cells. This can help you to avoid the development of cancer.

In addition to the pap smear, your doctor will usually also perform a pelvic exam. This is basically an examination of the external anatomy of your genitals, uterus, vagina and ovaries. Your doctor will be feeling for abnormalities during this exam.

It is recommended that you have a pap smear yearly after you reach adulthood. If abnormalities are suspected, you may need one earlier in your teen years. If consistent normal results are found, then your doctor may recommend that you only have a pap smear every two to three years. If abnormalities are found, it may be recommended that you have more frequent tests. You may also need more frequent tests if you have any immunity problems, such as HIV.

If very few abnormal cells are present, then they may not be detected in the pap smear. Cervical cancer develops over many years, so it will most likely be noticed in the following pap smear without severe consequence. This is another reason that it is important to regularly get your pap smear done.

Before going to the OB/GYN for your pap smear, there are a few steps you should take. Do not have intercourse for two to three days before the test. Do not use any kind of vaginal medications, spermicidal products or lubricants during this time either. Douching can also alter the results of your test. In general, anything you insert or use vaginally for the two or three days before your pap smear can wash away or obscure abnormal cells that would have otherwise been detected.

Find More Pap Smear Articles

Question by beauty_n_charge: pap smear?
i recently took a pap smear on january 29th 2008. they called me back about a week and a half after to set an appointment because the doctor need to discuss something with me or possibly do a second pap smear. im really worried if maybe somethings wrong. does anyone have an idea of what the doctor might want to talk to me about?

Best answer:

Answer by oscar_the_penguin
no sorry i dont know what a pap smear is :*(

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

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One Response to “What Exactly Is a Pap Smear? Do I Really Need To Get One?”

  1. livn4themin Says:

    There are many reasons for the dr. to want to talk to you. And many reasons for your pap to come back abnormal. Most of them are cleared up after a second pap. It could be as simple as you just finished your period or had sex the day before the pap. It is probably a preliminary with the dr. Relax

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