Posts for tag: Pap Smears
Have you read that Pap smears aren't really necessary anymore? Although current guidelines recommend less frequent Pap smears, the tests still provide invaluable information about the health of your cervix and shouldn't be skipped. Your Gynecologist Dr. James Scales helps his patients by offering offer Pap smears, routine gynecological care, birth control, preconception planning and obstetrical care in his Texarkana, TX, office.
What is the purpose of Pap smears?
Pap smears detect abnormal and cancerous cells in your cervix, located at the lower end of your uterus. Early symptoms of cervical cancer can be easy to overlook, making regular Pap smears a must for all women. Prompt identification and treatment may prevent precancerous cells from ever becoming cancerous or improve your prognosis if you're diagnosed with cervical cancer.
How often should I have a Pap smear?
Although Pap smears used to be recommended yearly, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) changed the guidelines several years ago. The organization noted that it can take 20 years or more for cervical cancer to develop. Testing every year resulted in too many false positives and retests.
Women aged 21 to 29, should now have a Pap smear every three years. If you're between the ages of 30 to 65, ACOG recommends a Pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years or a Pap test alone every three years. Pap smears aren't necessary if you're 65 years or older. Although you may no longer need a Pap smear after age 65, it's still important to visit your Texarkana gynecologist for annual examinations. Annual examinations are also important if you're younger than 65, even if you don't require a Pap smear that year.
Should some people have more frequent Pap smears?
You may need a Pap smear more often if you've had cervical cancer or precancerous cells in the past. More frequent screening may also be recommended for women who have HIV/AIDs, weakened immune systems or were born to mothers who took diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy.
Protect your health with regular Pap smears. Call your Texarkana, TX, gynecologist Dr. James Scales at (903) 614-3003 to schedule an appointment.
Due to the complexities of the female reproductive system, women have health concerns that require regular testing by an Ob/Gyn (obstetrician-gynecologist). The standard gynecological test administered to women in their reproductive years is called a pap smear. Find out why you shouldn't put off getting a pap smear if you're a woman over the age of 21.
What Is a Pap Smear?
A pap smear is an exam that allows your gynecologist to view a sample of cells on your cervix. A tool called a speculum is used to widen the vagina so that a swab of cells can be taken and the cervix can be examined visually. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes. Women also often opt for STD testing at their pap smear appointments.
Why Pap Smears Are Important
Regular pap smears are important because they allow for early detection of potential problems. One of the most common concerns that gynecologists have for sexually active women is cervical cancer caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). When abnormal cells are checked and caught early, they can be treated with simple procedures to avoid future problems. Cervical cancer is considered very rare now, mostly thanks to regular pap smears, and it is most effectively treated in its early stages. Other concerns, like Bacterial Vaginosis and yeast infections can be diagnosed by a pap smear, and treated with medication.
How Often Should You Schedule a Pap Smear Appointment?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that regardless of sexual activity, young women should schedule their first pap smear appointment at age 21. After that, pap smears should be scheduled every two years until age 30. After that, pap smear appointment can be scheduled every three years as long as there isn't a problem detected. Women who have abnormal pap smears should take their gynecologist's advice for how often to come in for checkups.
Call Your Ob/Gyn Today
Today is a good day to call your local Ob/Gyn to schedule a pap smear. Don't put off this relatively simple and quick checkup appointment for women as it is an important part of maintaining good gynecological health.