A pap smear, or pap test, checks to see if you have any abnormal cells in your cervix. It’s the most common way to screen for cervical cancer. Because of routine pap tests, cervical cancer is almost always treatable, since it’s caught early on. Most pap tests come back negative.
Not necessarily. If your pap test does turn out positive, it could just mean that you have some inflammation (called dysplasia). Usually, this abnormal inflammation clears up on its own, so Dr. Love might just send you home and perform the pap again in a few months.
If you still have an abnormal pap test during your next appointment, Dr. Love will determine which type of additional testing you may need.
Medical guidelines have changed in recent years. Previously it was suggested to have an annual pap smear. Current recommendations are every three years, until age 30, as long as your most recent pap test was normal.
Between the ages of 30-65, medical experts recommend getting routine pap smears every three to five years, as long as you continuously have regular pap smears. If you do ever have an abnormal pap, Dr. Love recommends having the test repeated once a year.
Not at all. When you first visit with Dr. Love, he sits down and talks with you about your concerns before doing anything else, making sure you are comfortable. Typically, he begins your exam with a manual pelvic exam to feel your cervix, uterus, and ovaries.
After that, he inserts a speculum into your vagina that gently opens up vaginal walls. He uses a small spatula or brush to scrape a few cells from your cervix, which only takes a few seconds. For some women, this briefly causes a minor pinching sensation. The entire pap smear process takes only a couple of minutes and doesn’t cause pain or discomfort.
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