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Keeping Up with Your Cervical Health

Keeping Up with Your Cervical Health

A year often feels like just the blink of an eye. Life’s little details can change drastically in this window of time, leaving you surprised that a whole year has flown by and a new list of circumstances has evolved. With so much movement and distraction, you might place important considerations, like an overdue ob-gyn visit, on the backburner. This could be problematic because your annual appointment might signal a need for a Pap smear, also known as a Pap test. This test is key in determining certain cervical health conditions that might have developed in the midst of your busy 365 days.

Pap smears detect abnormal cells in your cervix. These abnormal cells indicate a potential health problem and allow your health professional to explore all options. Our Mobile Ob-Gyn physicians want you to know just how crucial the Pap test could be for you.

A Pap Can Save Your Life

Pap smears do not exactly detect cervical cancer. Instead, they recognize the abnormal cells that usually indicate potential cancer. The changes in your cervical cells can appear before the cancer develops, making this the easiest stage at which to treat the threat.

Aside from just the potential for cancer, a positive Pap smear might pinpoint other health issues such as:

  • Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections
  • Inflammation
  • HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

None of these possibilities represents guaranteed diagnoses. A positive Pap smear means you should test further by receiving a biopsy, another Pap smear, or even a colonoscopy. Abnormal Pap tests are really common, with only a small percentage of women being diagnosed with cervical cancer as a result.

When to Get a Pap Smear

While recent studies show that women only need a Pap smear every three years, some women still need to have these tests annually. It is vital to check with your doctor and tailor those yearly appointments to your specific health needs. Pap tests should start by the age of 21 and continue until at least the age of 65. If your test returns with abnormal results, or if there are other risk factors at play, you will need more frequent screenings.

After the age of 30, your doctor might suggest what is known as co-testing. This would include having a Pap test along with a separate HPV screening.

Overall Benefits of Pap Smears

With the primary benefit being that your life could be saved, regular Pap tests have other benefits including:

  • Reducing anxiety
  • Finding hints of cancer before you have symptoms
  • Diagnosing cancer in its earliest stage

Will It Hurt?

While receiving a Pap smear might be uncomfortable, it should not be painful. Confide in your health care provider if you experience any anxiety or pain during the exam. It is also necessary to let your doctor know if you have never had a Pap smear so they can guide you through the exam and let you know exactly what to expect.

At Mobile Ob-Gyn, we work hard to stand at the forefront of your health concerns. Our goal is to find and alleviate risks to your wellbeing. Let our well-qualified team lead you through the process of these necessary tests so that worry, and not your annual appointment, gets placed on the backburner. Please call us at 251-633-0793 or click here to schedule an appointment today. 

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