Posts for tag: Pap Smear
Dr. Debora Sedaghat provides pap smears at OC Women's Care in Fountain Valley, CA. We are here for all your OBGYN needs.
What is a pap smear?
A pap smear is routine screening for abnormal or precancerous cells in and around the cervix. Pap smears are in-office procedures performed by your OBGYN. During a pap smear, the vaginal opening and canal are expanded with a tool called a speculum, and then cells are collected from the outside of the cervix to be examined. The process can be uncomfortable or a little painful for some patients, but it is over quickly.
The cells are examined under a microscope for irregularities, looking for signs of precancerous conditions. OC Women's Care in Fountain Valley, CA, will contact you about any abnormal results on your pap smear.
Why is it important?
In a majority of cases, cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Early detection of high-risk HPV can help prevent cervical cancer.
The CDC recommends getting pap smears starting at age 21 and through age 65 every three years. After the age of 30, HR HPV is also checked at the time of pap smears. Based on the results of your pap smear, your OBGYN will advise when you should have your next screening. If you are healthy your doctor may tell you to come back in three years for paper smears but to continue with your annual exams which will include breast and pelvic exams every year. If they are watching precancerous cells, they may want you to return early in time for repeat pap smears or proceed with colposcopy and biopsies. Remember it's still important to have an annual exam even if you don't need a pap smear!
How can I protect myself?
Consistent screening is important to protect yourself from cervical cancer, but good habits are another way to be proactive. Practicing safe sex (using condoms) can prevent the spread of HPV. Smoking increases the risk of cervical cancer significantly and your OBGYN will recommend quitting smoking.
Come see Dr. Debora Sedaghat at OC Women's Care in Fountain Valley, CA, for a pap smear and cervical cancer screening. Give us a call at (714) 966-2112.
What is the purpose of a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is the best tool at our disposal for being able to detect precancerous cells within the cervix. By catching these cells early, we can remove them before they turn into cervical cancer.
When should a woman get her first Pap smear?
Women should start getting regular Pap smears from their OBGYN once they reach 21 years old, or once they become sexually active. Women will continue to get Pap smears until 65 years old.
How often should women get tested?
Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should get tested every three years. Once you reach age 30 you should get tested every five years (often alongside an HPV test). Women who have had abnormal Pap results in the past may need to come more often for testing.
Will it hurt?
While getting a Pap smear may feel a bit weird or maybe even a little uncomfortable (especially the first time when you’re not sure exactly what to expect), it shouldn’t hurt. You may notice a slight pinch but that’s usually about it. While a traditional OBGYN screening will usually take up to 20 minutes to perform, the Pap smear itself usually takes just a couple of minutes.
How quickly will I get results back?
It’s typical to get your results within one week after your test, but your OBGYN will let you know when results will be available to you.
Do abnormal or inconclusive results mean that I have cervical cancer?
Not typically. An inconclusive test just means that the sample that we collected wasn’t useable. This can happen if you’ve been sexually active or used tampons with two days before your test. Your doctor will usually recommend repeating the test.
Abnormal results, while stressful, could be due to inflammation, infections, trichomoniasis, HPV or herpes. If your tests are abnormal your doctor will discuss further testing with you or provide you with proper medication if an infection is found.
If you still have questions about Pap smears, don’t hesitate to call your OBGYN. We are here to make sure that you fully understand any and all care you receive at our office.