While no one enjoys getting a Pap smear, it's a critical cancer screening that could save your life. The team at NA OB/GYN in New Albany and Holly Springs, Mississippi, provides Pap smears in a comfortable, professional environment to protect your health and wellness. If you're due for a Pap smear, call or schedule your appointment online today.
A Pap smear is a preventive health screening that tests a sample of your cervical cells for signs of cancer, including precancerous cells. Pap smears aren't painful and only take a couple of minutes, which could save your life.
During a Pap smear, while you recline on a treatment table with your feet in stirrups, your doctor opens your vagina with a speculum and uses a thin wand to swab a sample of cells from your cervix. Your doctor sends those cells to a lab where they're examined for abnormalities.
Pap smears are usually offered during your annual well-woman appointment, which also includes pelvic and breast exams as well as routine health checks.
Cervical cancer doesn't cause symptoms in its early stages, and it leads to more than 4,000 deaths annually. A Pap smear is the only way to get a diagnosis and start treatment early to protect your health and fertility.
In addition to identifying cervical cancer, your doctor can also test your Pap smear for the human papillomavirus (HPV) a common STD that can be a precursor to cervical cancer.
Generally, you should have a Pap smear every three years unless you have an increased risk of cervical cancer. For example, if you have a personal or family history of cervical cancer, you should have more frequent Pap smears to protect your health.
After the age of 30, you may be able to have Pap smears every five years when they're combined with an HPV test.
Talk to your women's health care provider at NA OB/GYN about your health and personal and family medical history for customized advice on how often to schedule a Pap smear. Remember that you should still have an annual well-woman visit, even if you don't need a Pap smear and that women aged 40-55 should have a yearly mammogram.
Young women should have their first Pap smear around their 21st birthday, or when they become sexually active.
If you're due for a Pap smear or a well-woman visit, call NA OB/GYN or make an appointment online today.