A pap smear a test carried out which 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.
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, 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.
Pap smear is a simple, quick and painless screening procedure which is done to check for cancer or precancer symptoms of the uterine cervix. Pap smear is not painful but is an uncomfortable process and it gets over quickly.
Pap smear should be done after the two weeks of the start of the menstrual periods because during menstrual periods it becomes hard for the doctor to do the test properly and the presence of blood may interfere with the result of the test. If we talk about the perfect age then the women aged between 21-65 should have pap tested every three years. If the woman is above the age of 65 then she should go for a Pap test every 5 years.
Pap smear is a process performed at the office of the doctor and takes only a few minutes to perform. During the test you are told to lie down on the table, bending the knee and heels on the stirrups and then gently an instrument is named speculum is inserted in your vagina to hold it apart so that the cervix is easily visible. Then the doctor with the help of a spatula, will take samples of your cervical cells. This process usually does not hurt and less time taking.
If you are a virgin then pap smear does not hurt and does not bring any change in the virginity of a woman as the hymen is not affected and the smear can be removed easily.
Pap smear should not hurt technically but there can be acute pain and there can be uncomfortable feelings while having the procedure.
Before having a pap smear you must avoid sexual intercourse, using any vaginal cream or spray, douching, spermicidal foam, two days before having a pap smear.
It is nor necessary to shave before a pap smear because there is no change in the result whether you are waxed or not it is all the same.
The age of getting a pap smear depends upon the sexual activity of the women. You can have your pap tested between the age of 21-30 in every three years as they are at the risk of having cervical cancer. If you are sexually active before the age of 21 then you should have your pap test.
If you are sexually active and between the age of 21-30 then you should have a pap smear because sexual activity increases the risk of having cervical cancer. Though cervical cancer takes 10-20 years to develop it must be checked every three years.
Pap smear test frequency depends on various factors like :
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.
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.
You can resume your day to day activities immediately after the test as there is no physical strain during the test.
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.
The test is to be repeated every three to five years.
A pap smear is a routine cancer screening test. There are no alternatives to it.