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Pap Smear - Treatment, Procedure And Side Effects

What is the treatment?

A pap smear is necessary for early cancer detection in women. The test not only screens for cervical cancer in women but is also designed to detect abnormal cells in the cervix in order to determine the patient’s predisposition for developing cancer.

The test involves taking sample cells from the cervix, which is the opening of the vagina and testing them for abnormalities. The lab testing of the cells takes place within a few days of your test. Since the test is used to screen for possible pre-cancerous cells in the cervix, any abnormalities which are found are to be followed up by further testing. Further tests might include tests such as a colonoscopy. Cell abnormalities, however, are often caused due to inflammation, so it is not necessarily an indicator of the development of precancerous cells. HPV tests are often conducted at the same time as a pap smear, as it is extremely common for sexually active adults to contract the STD.

It is usually recommended that people get pap smears every three to five years. However, if the need arises, pap smears can be performed within six months of the last test without any problems. While countries such as the United States recommend that sexually active women have pap smears done every three to five years, many countries do not abide by this timeline and recommend pap smears on a patient to patient basis. Despite the fact, it is important for sexually active women to have pap smears as it can lead to early detection of cancer.

How is the treatment done?

A pap smear involves taking cells from your cervix and testing them for abnormalities. The test only lasts for ten to twenty minutes and your results are confirmed between five days to two weeks.

When you go in for the test you are asked questions about your medical history after which you have to lie on a table with your feet placed in stirrups. A speculum is inserted into your vagina in order to widen the opening. The doctor then takes a swab to collect a sample of cells and then places the cells in a liquid substance. After this is over, your sample is tested in a lab and your results are made available to you in a few days. While you may feel some discomfort during the test, there is no lasting soreness or pain.

If the test is negative, it indicates that there are no abnormal cells in your cervix and you can return for another routine pap smear in three to five years. If the test is positive, it indicates that abnormal cells have been detected. It does not necessarily mean that said cells are cancerous, but it does mean that your doctor will prescribe further tests to determine the nature of the abnormal cells.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

A pap smear is recommended for women who are -

  • Between the ages of 21 and 60
  • Are sexually active

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

A pap smear is recommended for sexually active women between the ages of 21 and 60. You do not require a pap smear if you are –

  • Below the age of 21, even if you are sexually active, as there are no real benefits to it
  • If you are above the age of 60 and a history of negative tests, even if you are sexually active
  • If you’ve had a total hysterectomy where the cervix has been removed

Are there any side effects?

There are no negative effects of getting a pap smear. Women under the age of 21 are recommended not to get pap smears as it could delay the detection of cancer or HPV. There is no soreness or pain after the test procedure is completed, so you can get back to your daily activities immediately after.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

While you might temporarily feel some soreness after your test, you can continue with your daily routine after a Pap Smear. There is no aftercare required post-procedure. You can expect to get your test results within two weeks of undergoing the test. Once your doctor has your test results, they can suggest whether or not you need any follow-up tests based on any abnormalities they may have found. If your test is completely negative, you can just go back for your next pap smear three to five years later.

How long does it take to recover?

You can resume your day to day activities immediately after the test as there is no physical strain during the test.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The test can cost between Rs. 200 and Rs. 1500 depending on the area in which you live and the cost of medical care in the area.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The test is to be repeated every three to five years.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

A pap smear is a routine cancer screening test. There are no alternatives to it.

Safety: Very High Effectiveness: High Timeliness: Very High Relative Risk: Very Low Side Effects: Very Low Recovery Time: Very Low Price Range: Rs. 200 - Rs. 1500

Popular Health Tips

My smear campaign

MBBS, MS - General Surgery
General Surgeon, Kota
Have a pap smear once a year. Not on our list of favourite things, but it s vital. Cervical cancer kills 200 000 women a year and it s the most prevalent form of cancer among black women, affecting more than 30 percent. But the chances of survival are nearly 100 percent if it s detected early. Be particularly careful if you became sexually active at an early age, have had multiple sex partners or smoke.

HPV - How It Affects You? + How It Can Be Treated?

Dr. Sagar Bumb 87% (28 ratings)
Gynaecologist, Pune
HPV - How It Affects You? + How It Can Be Treated?
The Human Papillomavirus or HPV is a large group of about 170 related viruses, each of which is given a number also called its type. This dangerous virus serves as one of the most commonly occurring cancer. The pre-cancerous lesions increase the risk of cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth or throat. Out of the 170 viruses, about 40 of them are transmitted through sexual contact and are responsible for developing pre-cancerous conditions. What are the symptoms and how do you detect them? HPV infection is transmitted through sexual contact. Usually, when you have vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone carrying the HPV virus, you are bound to be affected by it. Genital areas provide the virus with a much suitable environment for them to survive. As it is a sexually transmitted infection, people with more active sex life (with multiple partners) are at a risk of being infected with this virus. Depending upon the type of infected virus, symptoms vary from person to person and some don't seem to experience any symptoms. General warts and genital warts are the most commonly seen symptoms. If one experiences genital warts, they surely have HPV. Not all genital warts look the same. Some just look like raised or flat pink, flesh like, whereas some seem to have a cauliflower like an outgrowth. There may be one wart to several numbers of them. Some are bigger, and some are insignificantly small. These symptoms may take up weeks to appear after you have sexual contact with any infected one. If these symptoms start appearing it might happen that the cells of those areas have already begun developing pre-cancerous stages. How to avoid such infections and what to do if I start observing such symptoms? There is not much to do, to eradicate any case of HPV infection. As it strikes the most sexually active ones, keep a healthy check on your sex-life. Make sure the ones whom you have intercourse with are not infected already. But as this is not possible every time, maintain a proper intimate hygiene. Keep your private areas clean, and besides that, you may opt for a periodic check-up of your intimate areas to make sure you don't get infected. But if you have already started observing such symptoms, better not be late to pay a visit to your doctor as soon as possible. If caught at an early stage such infections are easily curable as it is one of the most commons ones. Although there is no HPV test for men in the healthcare sectors, for women HPV tests are available which are not to be confused with Pap smear tests. Your doctor may carry out a lab test to detect the virus. What are the treatments? Most of the HPV infections get destroyed over time, but if that is not the case, your doctor may use methods like cryotherapy, conization, laser therapy and loop electrosurgical excision procedure, which are to cure you easily.
1 person found this helpful

Everything You Need to Know About Your Pap Smear!

Dr. Upendra Patel 87% (17 ratings)
MD - General Medicine, MBBS
General Physician, Ahmedabad
Everything You Need to Know About Your Pap Smear!
A Pap Smear is a screening test done to to test for occurrence of uterine cancer. Carried out in a quick and simple way to extract a sample, the sample is collected from the cervix area of a woman during a pelvic exam. The examination of the sample takes place under a microscope thereafter to find abnormalities that can point towards cancer and pre cancer changes. There are many reasons why women should get a pap smear screening done: 1. Women who are HIV positive should get this test done regularly so as to detect any anomalies in the cervix. This condition usually comes with higher risk of infections and cancer, which is why regular screening is required. 2. Age is also another factor and women over the age of 30 should go through an annual screening on a compulsory basis. This is also true for women who have been through pregnancy and child birth. Preparing for a Pap Smear: To prepare for a pap smear test, you need to ensure that you are not menstruating at the time. Also, you may want to avoid sexual activity just before the test so as to get the most accurate readings. During the process, remember to stay calm and relax your body physically. Procedure: The pap smear procedure is a quick one that might be only slightly uncomfortable. This test is usually carried out on the examination table at the gynecologist's clinic. The legs will need to be spread and placed in stirrups. The doctor will insert a speculum to hold open the vaginal opening so that the spatula can be inserted easily to take a sample from the area. This sample of the cells will be tested in a lab after due preservation. Test Results: The test results can either be normal or abnormal. An abnormal result does not point at the presence of cancer. Rather it can simply mean that abnormal cells exist in the cervix. The doctor may ask you to go through these tests and screening more frequently so as to study the anomalies in a more detailed manner.
4896 people found this helpful

Cervical Smear - Understanding It In Detail!

Dr. Nutan Hegde 94% (144 ratings)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Cervical Smear - Understanding It In Detail!
A cervical smear test is often known as a Pap test and is done to establish the changes that might have occurred in cells of the cervix. A small sample of cells is taken from the surface of the cervix and is tested for any abnormalities. The sample is spread on a slide or in some cases mixed with a liquid fixative and studied under a microscope. It is one of the most popular methods to test the abnormalities in your cells and can pinpoint point cervical cancers. About the test A typical cervical smear or Pap test is done to identify the changes that have happened to the cells of the cervix. Diagnosing them early can be beneficial in many ways and can lower your chance of cervical cancer. PAP smear or a cervical smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. For other cases, once the results of the cell growth are identified it is safe to seek other tests and medical options for diagnosis. The procedure of typical Pap smear The test is mostly recommended when you do not have the periods as the blood can interfere with the results. Also, before taking the test discuss with your doctor about the medications you are taking and in case you are under any birth control pills. No other special preparations are needed for the Pap test. Feel free to discuss with your doctor about the impact the test will have on you or on the pain levels, etc.The test is done by inserting a speculum into the vagina, which spreads it further. Later, a cotton swab is inserted to get the samples of cells from your cervix. The cells from the vagina are also collected in some cases and tested accordingly. The risks involved There no chances of risks when you go for such tests. You might feel a bit of pressure in your vaginal region and may experience a small bleeding after the testing. However, this is extremely normal. Also, there is no pain involved. If you experience heavy period and blood loss, you might experience minor discomfort when the test is being done. The final result Once the test is done, the results would be available usually within a week. The results can be categorized into normal and abnormal. If your cells are normal and no abnormality is found then the condition is termed as a normal result. In the case of abnormality in the cell structure, then it requires further evaluation and diagnosis to rule out cancer.
3664 people found this helpful

Abnormal Pap Smear - What Can Be The Possible Cases?

Dr. Yuthika Bajpai Sharma 88% (38 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Kanpur
Abnormal Pap Smear - What Can Be The Possible Cases?
A Pap smear test helps in detecting the signs and onset of cervical cancer. This test helps in pointing at the presence of any suspicious cells that may require further examination and testing with the help of an oncologist. You will enjoy a negative result in case you have a normal reading during the examination process and no further treatment will be required. Yet, you will be asked to go through the test on a regular basis. But here is what happens if you have an abnormal reading. 1. Positive Result: You are said to have a positive result, if you any unusual or abnormal cells were found during this Pap Smear Test. While this may not necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer, it can show what kind of abnormal cells are present in this area of your body. The doctor will check for the following things after a positive result. 2. ASCUS: This is also known as Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance. This is a liquid based test that will seek to study the thin and flat squamous cells that may be found on the surface of a perfectly healthy and normal cervix. This test will check for the presence of any virus that may lead to the development of cancer and to determine the level of risk to the patient. Further, if there is any high risk virus, then further treatment and testing will be required. 3. Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion: When some of the cells that have been extracted during the Pap Smear test turn out to be precancerous, then they are Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions. In many cases, it takes a few years for these lesions to turn cancerous especially when the changes are low grade, which pertains to the size, shape and other features of the same. If a high grade lesion is detected, then diagnostic testing in the form of imaging tests may be required. 4. Atypical Glandular Cells: These mucus producing cells grow within the cervical opening and usually spread into the uterus as well. While they may appear abnormal, it is difficult to tell whether or not they are cancerous, especially in the early stages. 5. Squamous Cell Cancer: This is an almost certain reading of the growth of cancer in the cervix. When a reading from the Pap Smear includes such a finding, the doctor will recommend immediate evaluation. 6. Colposcopy: Once you have had a positive reading with any of the above findings, the doctor will perform this procedure with sample tissue extracted during a biopsy. This will be done with the use of a special magnifying tool known as a colposcope to examine the cervix, vagina and vulva tissues.
4153 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Please suggest. What yearly health check up tests needs to be done for 38 years women?

Dr. Uma 89% (1536 ratings)
MS- Gynaecology, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Delhi
Fr gynae paps with hpv DNA. Breast usg whole abdomen usg.In blood hemp gram lft kft blood sugar tsh urine routine lipid profile.
1 person found this helpful

I am suffering from white blood discharge from 6 to 7 years how could I solve this I need the solution with no medicine?

Dr. Girish Dani 90% (2783 ratings)
MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
White discharge called Lucorrhoea is common and if not associated with other complaints is normal also. In such cases only Pap's smear is required. If associated with other complaints examining Gynecologist can decide management.

Request you to share the knowledge on HPV vaccination, I am 25 years old, and is it advisable to take that vaccination? If so ,three doses or ?Please also share the vaccination cost. Thank you in advance.

Dr. Priyanka Singh 94% (41 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Obs and Gynae, DNB -Obs & Gynae, MRCOG, Fellowship In Uro Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
There are 2 types of HPV vaccines- Cervarix and Gardasil. Cervarix prevents infection from HPV 16 and 18 which cause 70% of cervical cancers whereas Gardasil prevents infection from HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11. HPV 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts which are also sexually transmitted. These vaccines should ideally be taken by girls between 9 to 13 years of age, but can be taken up to 26 yrs. Best if taken before the girl becomes sexually active, as she might have already acquired the virus if vaccine is taken after start of sexual activity. Three doses are given at 0, 1 and 6 months intramuscularly. The cost per dose for Gardasil is Rs. 3000 and for Cervarix is Rs. 2190 in India. Pap smears for screening of cervical cancer should be done routinely at 3 years intervals even in women who have been vaccinated.

I have a leucorrhoea problem. I have eat the many medicine but no response. Please suggest me. What I am doing. I have a one baby.

Dr. Girish Dani 90% (2783 ratings)
MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Lucorrhoea by itself is common and does not need treatment. If associated with other complaints needs examination by Gynecologist, reports and treatment. Without associated complaints only Pap's smear.

I am 48 years. Since past 9 months, my periodic cycle which was 28 - 32 days has increased to 45 - 50 days. Ie. I get my periods after 45-50 days. No variation in the flow cycle. First 2-3 days heavy and stops by 6th day. Mild spotting till 8th - 10th day. What is the reason for this please.

Dr. Jayvirsinh Chauhan 97% (7679 ratings)
MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
Hi Persis.. mostly at this age it may be menopause.. means your menses will gradually stop... but it is better to get proper check up by gynecologist to be sure...
1 person found this helpful

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