Think Tank

Puzzled By The Pap Smear Test?

If you’ve ever browsed women’s health issues online (or elsewhere) even casually, chances are that you might have come across the term “pap smear” at some point. Clueless as to what it’s all about? Well we’ve addressed five top FAQs that everyone has about the Pap smear in this article.

What Is A Pap Smear?

Also known simply as a “Pap test,” this is a procedure that tests for cervical cancer in women. It involves taking a sample of the cells from the cervix – the lower part of the uterus and screening them to detect abnormalities like cancerous cells or cells that are likely to become cancerous in future.

Why Are Pap Tests Done?

As mentioned before, this test helps catch cancerous cells early on, thus aiding in the prevention of cervical cancer. Other than that, approximately 30% of cervical cancer cases are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), as it can cause your cells to change, thereby making them cancerous. Getting tested increases your chances of getting timely treatment if at all your cells are affected.

Does It Hurt?

Ideally, it shouldn’t, but each individual has a different threshold for physical discomfort. Most women experience some slight discomfort for a short period of time after the test, while some women don’t feel any pain at all. You may feel awkward about the whole experience, but the best thing you can do is try to relax and trust the medical professionals to do their job. If you do feel pain during your test, make sure to inform the doctor/ nurse immediately.

When Is The Best Time To Get A Pap Smear?

Don’t go for a Pap test when you’re on your period. The ideal time is roughly 15 days or so after menstruation has ended. The reason for this, is that you simply cannot be tested accurately while menstruating. The blood cells that are shed by your body at this time can affect the test results.

Read More About – Are We Ignoring The Health Of Our Women?

Do I Need One Even After A Hysterectomy?

It depends.
If you’ve had a complete hysterectomy wherein the cervix was removed along with the uterus, then you’re at a lower risk for the disease. However, if the reason you had a hysterectomy in the first place was that you already had abnormal cells/ cancer, then you may still need to get tested regularly.

How often should I get a Pap Smear Done?

Women should get their papsmear done every 3 Years, starting from the age of 25 years.

Read also – More about Cancer

Sources:

  1. http://www.nccc-online.org/hpvcervical-cancer/cervical-cancer-screening/
  2. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-sarver-dolgen/pap-smear-questions_b_3380174.html
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pap-smear/expert-answers/pap-smear/faq-20057782
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