For most women, the thought of going to the OB/GYN for a pap smear is unsettling, and they would rather skip these visits. This fear is more often than not conditioned, so you find that most people came across a horror story online or just heard it from one of their friends. Here’s the thing if you are a woman with a cervix and are above the age of 21, then you should not skip your visits to the OB/GYN. Every woman deserves to feel comfortable; that’s why you must choose a board-certified OB/GYN. If you live in or around Virginia, then you should book an appointment with a licensed OBGYN in Fairfax.
What is a Pap smear test for?
A Pap test is an examination done to test the cells from your cervix to check for the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common STD that is not only spread through intercourse but also anal or oral sex.
Additionally, HPV is linked to cervical cancer, so most people who contract the virus are at high risk of getting cervical cancer. Getting a pap smear is, therefore, a lifesaver because it could mean early detection of cancer by taking a cancer screening test once you have tested positive for HPV. Note that you still need to go for a Pap smear test even if you’ve had the HPV vaccine.
There are several things that you should know about the Pap smear test
An Abnormal Result Does Not Automatically Mean That You Have Cervical Cancer
As mentioned earlier, testing for HPV increases the risk of cancer. However, some women might receive abnormal results due to infections or, at times, inflammation. You should, therefore, do not get worried when you OB/GYN states that your results were abnormal. Further examinations will help you determine the cause of the irregularities.
Testing Positive for HPV Does Not Mean an Unfaithful Partner
Most people get concerned once HPV shows up in their test results, and the first thing is to wonder whether they got it from their partner. Unfortunately, HPV can sometimes lie latent in our bodies for months or even years and may only present itself now. You should, however, talk to your partner and tell them to get tested as a preventive measure.
You Don’t Need to Get a Pap smear Test Done Every Year
If you are anywhere between ages 21 and 29, then you should take the pap smear test every three years. Women who are thirty and above should get them every five years as long as their previous test results had come back standard.
A Pap Smear Test Should Be Painless
This is perhaps the most common misconception about this test. People assume that the test is painful. However, you should only feel uncomfortable when the speculum is being inserted into your vagina, but that’s about it. Also, you should avoid clenching your vaginal muscles to make the process painless.
The Number of Cervical Cancer Deaths Have Gone Down Since the Invention of The Pap Smear Test
Cervical cancer was once among the top significant causes of death for women. However, this has decreased by 60% in the US since the invention of this test.
The bottom line is that it’s always better to be informed rather than finding out when things have gotten worse and can only be managed. This is why you should make a habit of seeing your OB/GYN. The team at Capital Women’s care in Fairfax guarantee all their clients a highly customized and compassionate care.