South Avenue Women’s Services offers a wide array of health services in order to provide every woman with the care she needs and deserves. Proper screening and health care can detect and prevent more difficult and problematic issues from arising in later years. We offer a range of affordable and effective care options at South Avenue Women’s Services and welcome women of all ages rom the Rochester and Buffalo area to take advantage of them.
One service we definitely recommend for all women is a Pap smear test, which usually takes place during a full gynecological exam. All women between the ages of 21 and 65 should have Pap smear tests at least once every three to five years. The procedure is routine and only takes a few minutes to complete, but it could end up saving your life. Take a look at what a Pap smear is and why it’s important.
What is the purpose of a Pap smear?
Pap smear tests are designed to test for abnormal cell changes located in your cervix, and they could show signs of problems that potentially threaten your life. Pap smears are capable of finding abnormal cells on your cervix that eventually lead to you developing cervical cancer. They are also able to spot cell changes that indicate the presence of a common sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus. You can work towards treating cervical cancer and HPV simply by having a Pap smear test.
What happens during a pap smear?
Pap smear tests are conducted during a regular checkup with your doctor, during a pelvic exam or during a gynecological exam. During a Pap smear test, a doctor or nurse will place a metal or plastic speculum into your vagina. This speculum is designed to allow the medical practitioner to open the walls of your vagina so they can get access to your cervix. Once that is done, they are able to collect a sample of cells from your cervix. Those cells are then sent to a laboratory to be tested for signs of any abnormalities.
You may feel some slight discomfort during a Pap smear, but in general, they are painless and do not cause any real issues for women. At South Avenue Women’s Services, we work to make Pap smears as comfortable as possible for our clients.
How often should you get tested?
Women should begin to have regular Pap smear once they turn 21. From there, the frequency of their Pap smears depends on their age, their medical history, and the results associated with their previous Pap smears.
Women who are between the ages of 21 and 29 should have Pap smears done at least once every three years. Between the ages of 30 and 65, women should have them done at least once every five years. once a woman turns 65, she usually doesn’t need to have Pap smears done\.
However, you should speak with your specific doctor about how often you should be having a Pap smear since it is different for every woman. Those who have had issues with the cells on their cervix and those with a weaker immune system might need to have Pap smears done more frequently.
What if pap smear results are abnormal?
If you discover the results of your Pap smear are abnormal, it’s not necessarily a cause for concern. More often than not, abnormal Pap smear results are not an indication of cervical cancer. Therefore, you should speak directly with your doctor at South Avenue Women’s Services about your results.
In the event you have abnormal Pap smear results, a doctor may order another Pap smear test. An HPV test or a colposcopy test may also be ordered to take a closer look at your cervix. There are also common treatments called cryotherapy and LEEP used to treat those with abnormal Pap smear tests. It is important to stay in close contact with your doctor to find out the appropriate course of action.
Are you in need of Pap smear test and live in the Rochester or Buffalo area, or would you like to learn more information about Pap smears in general? Give South Avenue Women’s Services a call at 585-271-3850 today.