The Pap smear is a quick test your gynecologist can perform to check for any abnormal changes in the cells of your cervix. During a Pap smear, your gynecologist will place a speculum into the vagina and then use a small instrument to collect a sample of cells from the cervix. These cells are then sent to a laboratory for analysis. If you’re not sure when you should start or stop having Pap smears, you can turn to a local gynecologist for guidance. If you are wondering why Pap smears are so important, continue reading below.
Early Detection of Precancerous Changes
The most significant reason why having a yearly Pap smear is so important is because it can save lives. With a Pap smear, your gynecologist can detect potentially precancerous changes and treat the problem before it develops into cervical cancer. Thanks to Pap smears, cervical cancer is among the most preventable types of cancer. Additionally, it has now become common to undergo testing for the human papilloma virus (HPV) at the same time as the Pap test. The combination of these tests further increases the chances of detecting precancerous changes early on.
Checkup for General Wellness
Many women avoid going to their doctor’s office unless they become ill. However, preventive medicine is one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. By visiting your gynecologist at least once a year for your regular Pap smear, you can support your general wellness. You can ask your gynecologist questions about any unusual symptoms you’ve been experiencing or you may wish to talk about switching your method of birth control. The current guidelines recommend that all women begin having Pap smears at the age of 21. However, depending on your sexual history, your gynecologist might recommend getting them earlier. You should continue to have regular Pap smears throughout most of your life, even when you are not sexually active. Talk to your gynecologist for more specific recommendations based on your medical history.
If you would like to schedule a Pap smear or other gynecology service, you can call Washington Surgi-Clinic at (202) 659-9403. Our women’s clinic in Washington, D.C. provides a full range of gynecology services at an affordable fee, including safe abortions. Women throughout the Virginia and Maryland areas are encouraged to visit our website to learn more about us.