Pap Smear: Procedure and Recovery

Pap Smear: Procedure and Recovery | HealthSoul

pap smear is used as a screening test for cervical cancer. It involves scraping cells from the cervix to look at whether there are any precancerous or cancerous cells present. It is a relatively simple procedure that can be done quickly in your doctor’s office.

All women should begin getting pap smears once they turn 21, and these tests should be done about every year. However, some people are at increased risk of cervical cancer and should, therefore, get more frequent screenings. This includes people who have HIV or are immunocompromised, such as those who have undergone chemotherapy or who have received an organ transplant.

Some people over the age of 30 who have had three normal pap smears in a row may be able to go longer between tests, as long as five years. This will be done in combination with HPV screening, some strains of which indicate that you have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. Women who are over the age of 65 and have no history of abnormality in their pap smear tests may be able to stop taking the test. Being in a monogamous relationship does not mean you no longer have to get pap smears, since HPV can remain dormant for an extended period before becoming active.

Who should get Pap Smear?

Pap Smear Procedure

 While a pap smear can be slightly uncomfortable, it is a very quick procedure. You will lie down on an examination table while your doctor puts your legs in stirrups. Then, the doctor will insert a tool called a speculum into your vagina. This allows him or her to insert a tool to collect and scrape cells from your cervix. At this point, you may feel a bit of discomfort or mild pain, including a pushing or scraping feeling. However, this part of the procedure is done very quickly, so it shouldn’t result in anything more than mild discomfort. Your doctor will then send the cells to a laboratory for testing.

Pap Smear Recovery

Since this is a routine procedure, the recovery process isn’t significant. Some people might experience some pain or cramping in their uterus after the procedure, but that should dissipate relatively quickly. Others might experience some light bleeding, which is generally not an issue. However, if you continue to experience bleeding the day after the procedure, you should contact your doctor.

In a matter of days or weeks after the test, you should receive your test results. A normal result indicates that no precancerous or cancerous were found in your cervix. If you get this result, you won’t need another pap smear for one to three years.

However, an abnormal pap smear indicates that there are either precancerous or cancerous cells in your cervix. The most significant the abnormality, the more likely you are to develop cervical cancer. Therefore, if you get an abnormal pap smear result, your doctor might suggest that you come in for more frequent pap smears, or you may have to get a biopsy.

Pap Smear Procedure and Recovery

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention