Your Dothan, AL gynecologist answers the most common questions regarding getting a pap smear.
If you are a woman in her teen years or even early twenties then it’s time to start thinking about getting routine gynecological exams in Dothan, Al. To protect and maintain good reproductive health, you should see your gynecologist once a year for an exam and pap smear. If this is your first pap smear, find out more about the purpose of this procedure and why every woman should have one.
What is a pap smear?
A pap smear is a test that looks for the presence of precancerous and cancerous cervical cells. The goal of this test is to detect problems before they turn into cancer so they can be treated easily and effectively.
When should women start getting pap smears?
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend that women should start getting regular pap smears around 21 years old. Women should continue to get a pap smear every year during their annual gynecological exam. Even women who have received the HPV vaccine should still continue to get annual screenings.
What should I expect from my pap smear?
During the pelvic exam, your Dothan, Al gynecologist will collect some cells from the cervix to have analyzed. This part of the exam won’t take more than a minute. Some patients will experience some cramping after their pap smear; however, the cramps should be mild and feel no different from menstrual cramps.
What should I do prior to my pap smear?
We recommend that you schedule your pap smear when you don’t have your period, as this can sometimes affect the results. Furthermore, avoid using tampons, douching or having sex for two days prior to your pap smear.
What should I expect after my pap smear?
It takes a couple of weeks to get the results back regarding your pap smear. If your results are negative then you won’t have to worry about getting another pap smear until the following year.
If your test comes back positive, try not to panic. There are several reasons why you might have a positive result that are indicative of cancer. If your test comes back positive we will have you come back for a repeat test and examination and then discuss your results and treatment options once we make an accurate diagnosis.
If it’s time to schedule your annual exam or pap smear, then contact your Dothan, AL gynecologist at the Women’s Medical Center today and take charge of your reproductive health.