Regular Pap smear testing is a critical part of screening for cervical cancer. At My OB/GYN Specialists, Dr. Alejandra Angel and Dr. Arin Saldana offer comprehensive obstetric and gynecologic care to women of all ages in the greater Miami area. If you’re due for your well woman exam and Pap smear screening, call or book online to schedule an appointment today.
A Pap smear, or Pap test, is the most frequently used diagnostic tool to detect cervical cancer. Pap smear testing is part of your routine well-woman examinations, and is a critical part of your overall health.
Most women begin Pap smear testing at the age of 21. After you’ve passed the age of 30 and have three Pap smears in a row with normal results, you may only need a Pap smear once every five years. After the age of 65, your doctor may feel comfortable ceasing Pap smear testing.
Cervical cancer is a serious health issue that affects many women. Most types of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted disease. Your gynecologist may recommend routine HPV screenings in conjunction with Pap testing.
Your doctor at My OB/GYN Specialists performs a Pap smear as part of your pelvic exam, as you’re lying in a reclined position on the exam table with your feet resting in stirrups. A speculum is used to gently expand the walls of your vagina, providing access to your cervix.
Your doctor uses a special spatula or brush to remove a small sample of cervical cells. You may feel a slight cramping sensation, but you shouldn’t experience any significant pain. The collected cells are then sent to a lab, where they’re examined for abnormalities.
After your Pap smear, you may experience mild discomfort or cramping for a few hours. A very small amount of spotting, or vaginal bleeding, is also normal.
If your test comes back with abnormal results, you may need to come in for more frequent testing. Depending on the type and severity of the cellular abnormalities, additional screening options like a colposcopy or biopsy may be necessary.
If the results of a Pap test are abnormal, the doctor may order a second Pap test to confirm the results of the initial test, or a second type of exam called a colposcopy may be performed. During a colposcopy, a specially lighted magnifier is used to assess the tissue around the cervix, looking for abnormal areas that may need to be sampled (biopsied) for further evaluation.
Yes. The human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to cervical cancer, and testing for for HPV is often conducted at the same time. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most sexually active men and women will come in contact with HPV, although there are a number of types of HPV, and only some can cause cervical cancer.
LEEP stands for loop electrosurgical excision procedure, and makes use of a low-voltage electrical current directed through a thin wire. The heated wire allows your doctor to shave away abnormal cervical cells without harming nearby healthy tissue.
The team at My OB/GYN Specialists offers LEEP as an in-office procedure. That allows you to take care of your diagnostic and treatment needs in one place, with the specialist you know and trust.
To learn more about Pap smear testing or schedule your next well woman exam, contact My OB/GYN Specialists today.