Getting a Pap smear might sound intimidating, or you might already be familiar with the process, but what is the purpose? At AllSafe Medical Group in Los Angeles, Lynwood, and Downey, California, the team performs hasty Pap smear tests to ease your mind about your reproductive health and inform you of any cellular abnormalities in your cervix. Book your next Pap smear at AllSafe Medical Group by phone or online today.
To put it simply, a Pap smear is a cervical cancer screening that also tests for other changes in the cells of your cervix. Your cervix is the opening between your vaginal canal and your uterus. During the test, your physician collects a sample of cells from your cervix and sends them to a lab for testing. This collection typically takes place during a routine pelvic exam, but it doesn’t happen at all of them.
Pap smears are also a great way to detect signs of cervical cancer long before cancer spreads or even develops. If your Pap smear results are abnormal, your physician might recommend getting Pap smears more frequently to watch the development of the abnormal cells, or they might recommend a colposcopy exam for a closer look at your cervix.
You don’t need to start getting Pap smears at all until you’re 21 years old. Between the ages of 21 and 29, your physician at AllSafe Medical Group performs a Pap smear every three years at your annual pelvic exam appointments.
From ages 30-65, you have a choice: You can either get a Pap smear every three years, get an HPV test every five years, or get both together every five years. HPV is one of several other conditions that abnormal results of a Pap smear can indicate.
From 65 onward, it’s up to your physician to decide whether or not you still need Pap smears and how often you need them. If you have a hysterectomy at any point, you no longer need Pap smears at all as your cervix is absent.
There are a few steps you should take in preparation for each Pap smear appointment, regardless of whether or not it happens at the same time as your pelvic examination. Your physician at AllSafe Medical Group might recommend that you:
Pap smears aren’t painful, but they aren’t always comfortable, either. Thankfully, the test is quick and finding a way to relax your body before your test can help ease some of the discomforts.
If you’re due for a Pap smear, book your next test by calling AllSafe Medical Group or using the convenient online booking feature today.