Your OBGYN may perform a test known as a Pap smear, or a Pap test. This is a routine test done during regular checkups. In this article we will give you details about this test, how is it done, and what its results indicate.
It is a test done by your Gynecologist during one of your routine visits, to check for the presence of cancerous, or precancerous cells in your cervix. This test can also track anomalies or changes in the cervical cells, that might lead to cancer in the future.
According to doctors, married women between the ages of 25-65 need to have this test done every three years if they have no previous history of cervical cancer. However, if they have a previous, or a family history of cervical cancer the frequency might be different, this is usually decided by the doctor according to each case.
Usually, the Pap test is not painful, it can be however uncomfortable. But since it only lasts a few minutes, it is tolerable.
The Pap test is performed by an OBGYN in his or her office, you lay down as you do for any vaginal checkup, then the doctor inserts a device called a speculum into your vagina. This device keeps the vagina open to provide access to the cervix. Then the doctor will take cell samples from inside and outside your cervix using special medical tools, to send them to be tested in a lab later.
The results of the Pap smear can take a few days to come back from the lab. Your doctor will call you to give you the results. In case the results are normal and there are no cancerous or abnormal cells, you don’t need to go back to the doctor’s office. If the results came back positive indicating the presence of abnormal cells in your cervix. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer. You might have a cervical inflammation, a vaginal infection, or a mild change in the cervical cells. In this case, the doctor will perform further tests to learn more.