The Pap smear test was devised by, and named after the prominent Greek – American doctor, Georgios Papanicolaou. The test should be an extremely important part of every sexually active woman’s diary and is not one to be feared; if anything it is to be welcomed as the Pap test is responsible for saving the lives of millions of women worldwide every year.
The Pap test is extremely important as it can detect subtle abnormalities and changes to the cervix before they become cancerous, and it should be viewed as a regular occurrence within your preventative health care measures. Don’t wait until you have a health care issue to see your physician, see him before you develop a problem.
Regular preventative health care is one of the easiest ways you can prevent yourself from getting problems further down the road, but there are many questions abounding about how ‘regular’ is ‘regular’ when it comes to Pap smear testing. Current guidelines from the American Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that you should have a Pap smear every two years commencing at the age of 21. After your 30th birthday however, the frequency may decrease to every three years, provided that you’ve had three normal Pap test results in a row. However, if your immune system has been weakened by a virus or recent health condition, then you should always consult your physician as to the appropriate time between Pap smear tests.
What does a Pap test involve?
Pap smears in general are painless procedures and usually done by a pelvic exam. Your physician will position you on the examination table and ask you to place your feet flat onto the table, allowing your knees to naturally fall open. The most important piece of advice which can be given to you is to relax, relax, and RELAX! The physician will then insert an instrument known as a speculum into your vagina. The speculum will open your vaginal area wider, which will allow your physician to have a better view of the cervical area, (the neck of the womb.) He or she will then make a sweep of your cervix with a brush or cotton swab to collect cells from the surface. These cells will then be sent off for analysis to ascertain whether there are any abnormal cells present.
At the very worst, Pap smears should be seen as an uncomfortable nuisance, but they are a critical preventative measure in keeping women of all ages in a healthy condition. They take just moments to perform, and once it’s done, it’s done. Provided that there are no abnormal cells present, there’s no need to concern yourself again until your next scheduled date which your doctor will remind you about.