PAP SMEAR near me in San Antonio | Solv (2024)

A Pap smear is a commonly-used medical test that screens for cervical cancer in women.Knowing more about Pap smears and where to find one can help you prevent or detect cervical cancer early on so you can receive treatment.

Pap smear overview

A Pap smear is a cervical cancer screening test for women. According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), this test involves collecting a sample of cells from the cervix and checking them for signs of cancer. Women with precancerous cells on their cervix can work with their doctors to prevent or treat cervical cancer. A Pap smear is also known as a Papanicolaou test or Pap smear test, adds the NLM.

Pap smear (Pap test): What to expect

The purpose of a Pap smear is to look for the presence of cervical cancer and precancerous cells in the cervix. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports that precancers in the cervix are usually caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Pap tests are generally recommended for women between the ages of 21 and 65 years, adds the DHHS. Women should get a Pap smear every three to five years based on their age or as often as recommended by their healthcare providers.

A Pap test usually takes place during a pelvic exam or well-woman exam at your doctor’s office. According to the University of Utah, your doctor will usually ask you to remove your clothing from the waist down, lie on an exam table, and place your feet in stirrups. Then, your doctor will use a long cotton swab to collect a sample of cells from your cervix. Your cell sample will be sent to the lab where it is analyzed for signs of precancers and cervical cancer, noted the University of Utah.

Who needs a Pap smear?

The DHHS recommends a Pap smear for most women between the ages of 21 and 65 years. It suggests that women should still have regular Pap tests even if they are not sexually active, have had the HPV vaccine, or have already gone through menopause.

How often do you need a Pap smear?

If you are between the ages of 21 and 29, the DHHS recommends getting a Pap smear test once every three years. If you are between the ages of 30 and 65, you should have either a Pap smear once every three years or a Pap and HPV co-test once every five years, notes the DHHS.

The DHHS also recommends having a Pap test if you are older than 65 and have never been tested, or if you have not been tested since you turned 60.

How to prepare for a Pap smear

The NLM recommends against using tampons, having sex, douching, and using vagin*l creams or birth control foams two to three days before your Pap smear. It also recommends scheduling a Pap smear on a day that you are not having your period. Aside from taking these steps, no other preparation is needed for a Pap smear, according the the NLM.

What happens during a Pap smear?

First, your doctor will ask you to remove your clothing from the waist down and lie on an exam table. Then, according to the University of Utah, your doctor will open the walls of your vagin* using an instrument called a speculum, which provides your doctor with a clear view of your cervix.

Your doctor will then insert a long swab into your vagin* and gently swipe it against your cervix to collect a sample of cells. Your cell sample will be sent to a lab where it is observed and analyzed for the presence of precancerous cells and cervical cancer, states the University of Utah.

The NLM says a Pap smear causes little to no discomfort for most women, though some women may feel some pressure and mild discomfort that feels similar to menstrual cramps. It adds that some women may also experience some spotting or bleeding afterward, which is completely normal.

What do the results of a Pap smear mean?

Pap smear results can come back normal or abnormal. Notes the NLMl. Your doctor will contact you to discuss your results after they are ready.

Normal Pap smear

A normal Pap result means that the cells in your cervix were found to be normal and that no signs of precancers or cervical cancer were found, notes the NLM. Your doctor will usually recommend coming back in three to five years for another routine checkup.

Abnormal Pap smear

An abnormal Pap result means there were abnormalities detected in your cervical cell sample, reports the NLM. This does not necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. The NLM adds that your doctor may recommend follow-up testing or treatments that can prevent your cell abnormalities from developing into cancer.

How accurate are the results?

The NLM states that the Pap test is not 100% accurate, and that cervical cancer may be missed in a small number of cases. It also recommends making sure you avoid having this test while on your period, as blood can make results less accurate.

Does a Pap smear test for HPV?

According to DHHS, a Pap smear test does not check for the presence of HPV. However, it does check for the presence of abnormal cervical cells, which may be caused by HPV. The DHHS recommends having a routine HPV test if you are aged 30 years or older.

PAP SMEAR near me in San Antonio | Solv (2024)

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