From the age of 21 to 65, you should have the test every three years. As you begin your 30s, you can choose to have a Pap test combined with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test. You will be tested every five years instead of ten years if you do this. The most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) is HPV, which is linked to cervical cancer. If you have certain health concerns, including;
- Cervical cancer or a Pap test showing precancerous cells
- HIV infection
- A compromised immune system results from an organ transplant, chemotherapy, or long-term corticosteroid use
- Being exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth.
- History of smoking habits
Your obstetrics & gynecology in Woodside doctor may advise you to have a Pap test more frequently.
Understanding Pap Smear
A Pap smear (Pap test) is a quick and painless procedure that screens for cervical cancer. It entails using a microscope to examine cells taken from the cervix. The test does not diagnose cancer; instead, it looks for abnormal cervical changes (cervical dysplasia)—precancerous or cancerous cells that may indicate cancer. If any are discovered, additional testing, such as a colposcopy or biopsy, will be performed to diagnose cancer.
Procedure for Pap Smear
The process is carried out in your doctor’s office or clinic. It takes between 10 and 20 minutes. You will be lying on a table with your feet firmly planted in stirrups. Your legs will be spread, and your doctor will insert a metal or plastic tool (speculum) into your vagina. They will open it up to make the vaginal walls wider. This enables them to examine your cervix. Your physician will use a swab to collect cells from your cervix. They will put them in a small jar of liquid and send them to a lab for analysis. The Pap procedure is not painful, but you may feel a pinch or pressure.
Pap Smear preparation
You should not have a Pap testing while you are on your period. The accuracy of the test can be harmed by excessive bleeding. If your test is scheduled during that time of the month, ask your doctor if you can reschedule. Doctors recommend taking the following steps 48 hours before your Pap smear to ensure the most accurate results.
- Do not engage in sex or use lubricants.
- You should not use sprays and powders near the vagina.
- Tampons, medications, creams, and suppositories should not be inserted into the vagina.
- Wash the vagina with water, vinegar, or other liquid (douche).
How long would it take for Pap smear results to appear?
Pap smear results can take one to three weeks to appear. If three weeks have finished and you have not received mail or a phone call regarding the test results, please contact your healthcare provider. The outcome will be positive or negative; if positive, your provider will most likely include guidelines on what to do next.
The Pap smear is the most effective screening technique for abnormal cervical cells that may be cancerous or precancerous and detecting certain varieties of HPV that are linked to cervical cancer. It is not painful and poses no serious risks. Call Raveco Medical or schedule an appointment online to learn more about a Pap smear.