Prepping For Pap Smears: What To Expect

As you or your daughter move past the age of 20 years, it is time to start Pap smear visits to your gynaecologist in Chatsworth. You can also call a pap smear a ‘Pap test’ and it is a critical early cancer-detection asset for female health.

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Today we share information about and how to prepare for Pap smears.

What Is A Pap Smear?

During your appointment with your gynaecologist, he will use specialist equipment to collect a small sample of cells from your cervix, which are sent to a laboratory for testing. Your cervix is located at the lower, tapered end of your womb, which is at the top of your vagina.

Why Are Pap Smears Done?

The opportunity to detect cancer early is critical for increasing your chances of curing it. A Pap smear not only allows testing for existing cancer , but it can also test for cells that are indicators of potential cancer. Early observation of abnormal cells is a huge health advantage.

At your Pap smear appointment, your gynaecologist will also perform a pelvic exam and, if you are over 30, a human papillomavirus (HPV) test may also be recommended. This picks up signs of an easily transmitted infection that is often linked to cervical cancer.

Should All Female Patients Have Pap Smears?

The gynaecology specialists generally recommend Pap testing commencing at the age of 21 with the test being repeated every two to three years. Your gynaecologist will recommend the frequency to you based on the medication you take, your family history and your sexual activity.

Over the age of thirty, your gynaecologist might suggest extending the testing period to every 3 to 5 years if you combine it with an HPV test.

A lot of women have higher risk factors which may require the need for annual Pap smears, regardless of age, e.g. smoking or vaping.

How Can I Prepare For A Pap Smear?

These tips will help you be more at ease during your pap smear.

  1. Understand what a Pap smear is and how important it is.
  2. Try to urinate before you enter the doctor’s office as the physical exam will press around the bladder region.
  3. Request the smallest, narrowest speculum. This is the equipment inserted into your vagina to allow the gynaecologist to work effectively and retrieve a sample.
  4. Ask for the speculum to be warmed.
  5. Take time to write down all information about your vaginal and reproductive organ health, e.g. Is it sore inserting tampons? Have your excretions increased or changed in smell? Don’t be shy ‒ these are biological conditions that gynaecologists are there to help you with.
  6. Don’t go for a Pap smear if you have a heavy period.
  7. Practise relaxation breathing during your examination to relax your muscles.
  8. Talk openly during the examination.

Get in touch with your gynaecologist in Chatsworth today to book your Pap smear appointment.