Business: By Daniel Webster, dWeb.News Publisher
Salt Lake City, UT — (ReleaseWire) — 09/14/2021 –Women over the age of 21 are encouraged to have a pap smear during their annual well-woman exam. This is a quick and uncomfortable screening to check for any abnormalities.
The pap smear detects any precancerous changes in the cervix. The cervix, which is located in the vagina, is the lowest part the uterus. Cervical cancer is often caused by the virus known as human papillomavirus, or HPV. Sexual contact can transmit HPV.
To perform a pap smear, your provider will place a speculum in the vagina to examine the cervix. Then, using a brush, scrape the cells from the cervix. The cells are then tested for abnormalities once they have been removed.
Intermountain Healthcare’s Martie Nightingale CNM, DNP, stated that regular pap smears are important in detecting precancerous changes and treating them before they become cervical cancer. The symptoms of cervical cancer usually do not appear until the cancer grows rapidly and spreads to other parts of the body. When this happens, the most common symptoms are:
– Abnormal vaginal bleeding
– Unusual vaginal discharge
– Pain during intercourse
Nightingale gives this advice when making an appointment with your doctor.
Schedule your pap test for a day that you aren’t experiencing heavy period bleeding. Avoid putting anything in your genitals for at least 24 hour before you have to go.
Avoid sexual intercourse for at least one to two days prior to your Pap smear.
“Current recommendations regarding cervical cancer screening include pap test every three years starting at age 21,”,” Nightingale said. “A pap test that includes HPV testing, also known as co-testing, should be taken starting at 30. This is a pap exam with HPV testing every five years. Or a pap test alone every three years. Women with HIV and weakened immune systems may need additional testing or frequent testing.
Nightingale advises not to react too strongly if the test results aren’t abnormal. “Most abnormal results do not necessarily mean that you have cancer. An abnormal pap could be caused by temporary changes such as a vaginal infection or reactive or healing cells, which may require more frequent monitoring. “
Nightingale recommends that you talk to your doctor about the next steps. They can vary depending on your age, type, severity, and past history. These may include additional testing for HPV high-risk, repeat testing within one year, or a colposcopy with cervical biopsy.
– Intermountain Healthcare: Women’s Health
– American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG)
– ACOG Cervical Cancer Screening: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/cervical-cancer-screening
– ACOG Abnormal Pap Test results: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/abnormal-cervical-cancer-screening-test-results
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Intermountain Healthcare is a recognized leader in healthcare delivery and clinical quality improvement. For more information about Intermountain, visit intermountainhealthcare.org, read our blogs, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
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