A Pap smear, commonly called a Pap test, is quick, simple, and almost painless screening test to spot potentially cancerous cells in the cervix. Undergoing to regular Pap test is the best way for women to protect and fight the possible development of cervical cancer.
To familiarise yourself with this procedure, here is some basic information that is worth knowing. These will also provide proper guidance if ever you're going on your very first appointment.
Who Needs It?
Experts recommend that all women 18 to 70 are subject to this testing, especially those who are sexually active every one to two years. It only means once you've become a woman this is just a normal and natural process you should go through.
What Should You Do?
Most women think that this procedure is scary because of the tools involved, but it isn't. The first thing you must remember when you're going on an appointment for the first time is to stay calm. This is to lessen any physical discomfort. Along with that, here are some steps that will get you ready:
1. Your appointment shouldn't coincide with your period. The blood from your period may interfere with the result and make it less reliable.
2. Don't do anything that may affect the results of the Pap smear. For the next 24 to 48 hours before your examination, refrain from engaging in any sexual activities or anything related to your private areas. These include taking a bath, application of creams or lotions, etc.
3. Empty your bladder. Pap smear requires the use of various obstetrics supplies and instruments which may trigger your bladder system. Therefore, it is best to avoid chugging down too much fluid. Pee right before it begins.
4. Trust your OB/GYN. Your doctor will usually ask you to get undressed before the screening. When this happens, don't be shy and just trust them. They need to do this to properly check and examine your private for possible development of cervical diseases. Besides, the test usually takes a few minutes, much faster than you'll expect it to be.
After the Test
Your results will be available a week or two after your appointment. If they see any abnormalities with your findings, they will advise you on the things you can do and possible treatment options. The earlier you know it the better. If the result ends up normal all you need to do is to come back again after one or two years for another round of check-up.
Make your very first Pap smear less intimidating with these few reminders. If you have further questions or health-related inquiries, the best person to turn to is your obstetrician so they can provide you with right assessment and findings.