A pap smear—or Pap test—is a routine test conducted by your gynecologist in Logan, Utah. For the test, your provider will collect and examine the opening to the uterus, called the cervix.
Pap tests, along with pelvic exams, are an essential part of routine healthcare for women. It can help detect abnormal cells that can lead to cancer. Through these tests, most providers can find and treat cervical cancers early.
Your gynecologist in Logan, Utah will also likely test for infection with human papillomavirus. HPV is the most significant risk factor for cervical cancer in women over the age of 30. In addition, Pap tests can also detect abnormal or precancerous cells, infection, and inflammation.
When To Have A Pap Test With Your Gynecologist In Logan, Utah
It’s important to talk to your gynecologist in Logan, Utah about how often you should have a Pap test. Recommendations will vary based on your age and your risk for cervical cancer.
There are some general guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to the frequency of your Pap tests:
- If you are age 21 or older, you should start routine screening for cervical cancer whether or not you are sexually active. Most patients under the age of 30 can be tested every other year instead of annually.
- You can be tested every three years if you’re over the age of 30 and have had three normal Pap tests in a row.
- Women at high risk for cervical cancer—including those with weak immune systems or those who have been treated for abnormal cervical cells in the past—may need screenings more often.
- You may be able to stop cervical cancer screening if you are aged 65-70, have had three normal Pap tests in a row, are not sexually active, and have had no abnormal Pap tests in the past.
- Women who have had both their uterus and cervix removed do not need cervical cancer screening unless they’ve had surgery in the past for cervical cancer or pre-cancer.
What To Expect For Your Pap Test
Your gynecologist will help you prepare for your Pap test and generally follow a routine process when conducting the test.
You will be asked to undress from the waist down and put on a cover. After you’re lying down with your feet in stirrups, the healthcare provider will insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina to spread the vaginal walls apart and make the cervix visible.
Next, your provider will swab your cervix to gently remove cells, then place the cells in a liquid vial or on a microscope slide where they can be sent to the lab for analysis.
Your gynecologist may also test for HPV or vaginal infections. A pelvic exam is also usually conducted at the time of the Pap test. After the test, you may experience light bleeding or discomfort. Be sure to reach out to your gynecologist in Logan, Utah if you have any questions or concerns.
The Pap test results usually take a few days and your provider will contact you with the results.