What is a Pap Smear?
A Pap smear is a common test performed on female patients to examine the cervix. Dr. Madhav performs a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer including precancerous cells. During a Pap smear, cells from your cervix are gently scraped off using a small brush. The cells are sent to the laboratory for further testing for cervical cancer or cell abnormalities as well as presence of High Risk HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) that cause most of the ano-genital cancers. Pap smears can also be useful for certain types of STD testing including HPV, as well as to diagnose pain and bleeding in the vagina, cervix and uterus.
When Should I Get a Pap Smear?
While large segment of population will be fine following the new pap smear guidelines, one must remember that they are only guidelines. Dr. Madhav recommends getting a Pap smear based on your individual situation and Risk Factors . Commonly, a Pap smear is performed during an annual gynecological exam by an OB/GYN. However, Pap tests may not be required for every annual female exam Therefore, you must inquire about this type of testing with Dr. Madhav if you are in need of a Pap smear or pap Smear with HPV testing. Additionally, if you are experiencing pain or bleeding that is abnormal you may want to get a Pap test prior to the scheduled visit. Remember, not needing a Pap smear does not mean that you do not need an annual gynecological examination
Why is a Pap Test Important for My Health?
Dr. Madhav believes that getting a regular Pap smear with or without a HPV test can save your life. Pap tests are a form of preventative care, screening test that can detect early precancerous changes in cells before the cells become cancer of cervix. Early detection leads to more successful treatment of this pre-cancer or cancer. Additionally, during a Pap screen, Dr. Madhav can detect some other abnormal cervical conditions and Sexually Transmitted Infections. A Pap smear does not hurt and only takes a few minutes, after which you will not have any pain resulting from the Pap test. Because the pap test is combined with annual gynecological well woman exam, along with cultures for STIs , you can have peace of mind knowing you are in good health. An important point to remember is that you must always go for you Annual Gynecological exam even if you think you may not need a pap smear, the rest of the well woman exam and visit are equally if not more useful for staying healthy. at all ages.