The nice thing about being busy is that days fly by, but suddenly we have an appointment alarm beeping. Thank goodness for calendars on our phones, because they keep us sane. Though we might not skip into our Pap smear appointment, it’s truly one of those tests that we appreciate in our lives. Keep reading for some commonly asked questions regarding a Pap smear, and why you may want to schedule yours.
What is the purpose of a Pap smear?
If you’ve never had a Pap smear, then you may not know. Or, maybe your previous physician didn’t explain it to you before because they were in a hurry. A Pap smear (also called the Pap test) is a test of your cervical cells to check for any abnormalities that include cancerous and precancerous cells.
How does it work?
Usually done during your regular pelvic exam, a Pap smear is a quick addition to your appointment. A small, hinged metal tool called a speculum is inserted into the vagina to open it slightly. This allows your physician to see your cervix. Then, a small brush or medical spatula is used to collect a small sample of cells from your cervix. This sample is sent to a lab to be tested for cancerous and precancerous cells. Many times, we can also test for HPV (Human Papillomavirus).
Do I need one if I’m a virgin?
If you have never had vaginal sex, then your risk of developing cervical cancer is likely lower than the average sexually-active woman. That doesn’t mean that you have no risk of developing cervical cancer, though, since family history and other factors such as smoking may increase your risk. We recommend that you discuss your history with your physician and decide if you think a Pap smear is a good idea afterwards.
Will it hurt?
In a word, no. Pap smears are generally not a painful test. If you have an issue that you would like us to know about, make sure to tell us when you make your appointment, or when you come in for your appointment.
A Pap smear can help you catch cervical cancer before it gets too serious. Please call us at (281) 444-3440 to schedule an appointment for yours today.