Most of your visits to a gynecologist in your lifetime will be for a pelvic exam, which generally includes a pap smear. A pelvic exam with a pap test is a common checkup that Dr. Jorge Villarreal at his practice in El Paso, Texas recommends women have regularly.
Pap Smear Q & A
Most of your visits to a gynecologist in your lifetime will be for a pelvic exam, which generally includes a pap smear. A pelvic exam with a pap test is a common checkup that health experts recommend women have regularly.
What Is a Pap Smear?
During a pap test, an OB-GYN scrapes cells from the cervical opening. This is located in the cervix, which is the bottom part of the uterus that meets the vagina. The purpose of scraping is to collect cells, which experts test for signs of cancer or precancerous cells in the cervix.
What Can I Expect From a Pap Smear?
During a pap scream, your OB-GYN opens your vagina slightly with a speculum to check the condition of the vagina and the cervix. Then, he or she will use a swab to scrape cells from the cervix. The doctor tries to make this process as comfortable as possible.
When you have a pap smear, your doctor will most likely give you a pelvic exam and breast exam at the same time.
How Do I Prepare for a Pap Smear?
First, pay attention to your menstruation pattern and make an appointment for your exam when you won’t have your period. During the two days leading up to the exam, avoid:
- having sex
- using tampons or vaginal products
- douching the vagina
How Often Do I Need a Pap Test?
You should start getting pap smears when you are 21, or earlier if you have become sexually active at a younger age. After that, experts recommend that you get checked every 3 years. Nonetheless, if you have had normal results and also get tested for HPV, you might be able to switch to getting checked in 5-year increments. Nonetheless, your gynecologist might suggest a different frequency. To schedule a pap smear and gynecological exam with the doctor, contact the office today. The office can also help to determine what your insurance will cover.