A Pap smear, or Pap test, is an important screening tool for the early detection of cancer and abnormal cells in your cervix. The highly skilled team of physicians at OB/GYN Specialists, in Denton, Texas, provides Pap smears to women as part of a routine gynecological exam, typically every three years beginning at age 21. To make an appointment for a pelvic exam, including a Pap smear, call the office to schedule, or book online.
A Pap smear is the most common method of testing women for early signs of abnormal cells that may lead to cervical cancer. During a Pap smear, your gynecologist gathers a small sample of cells from your cervix — the part of the uterus that opens to the vagina. They place the cell sample on a slide to carefully examine it under a microscope.
If the cells are abnormal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. In fact, abnormal cell growth in your cervix is often precancerous and highly treatable. Gynecologists recommend getting a routine Pap test every three years if you’re between 21 and 65 years old, but your doctor recommends if you need the test more frequently based on your health history and previous Pap test results.
Your doctor typically performs a Pap smear during your scheduled well-woman gynecology exam. During the pelvic exam, your doctor uses a speculum to open the vaginal canal, so they can clearly examine the cervix. They use a small brush or swab to collect a sample of cells from your cervix opening.
It isn’t painful, although you may feel some pressure on your cervix. The test takes just a few minutes, and afterward, you can resume your daily activities. Once they know the results of the Pap test, the team at OB/GYN Specialists lets you know if you need any further procedures or screenings.
The results from your Pap smear fall into one of two categories: normal and abnormal. Normal results mean that all the cells from the sample from your cervix appear normal. You don’t need any further testing until your next scheduled Pap smear.
If the results are abnormal, it isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. It just means that they discovered abnormal cells or changes, which could simply be atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS). If your gynecologist is concerned about the results from your Pap test, they recommend the next precautionary steps.
For a routine well-woman visit that includes a Pap smear, call the office to make an appointment, or book online through the convenient online booking tool.