Friday, July 13, 2012

Women's Health: Pap Test

What is a pap smear? The test is named after founder, Dr. George Papanicolaou. It is called a smear because your OB/GYN will take a scraping of the inner and outer area of the cervix and smear the cells on a microscopic slide. The cervix is the lower section of the uterus. All women should get a yearly pap test after their first menstrual cycle or after their first experience of having vaginal sex.

Women who have had a total hysterectomy do not undergo pap smears since the cervix has been removed. However, she is to continue with her pelvic examination. Those women who have had a partial hysterectomy are to continue with yearly paps as the cervix is left in place.

Women who are 70 years of age or older may discontinue the pap test if in the prior 10 years the results have been normal and continue with the pelvic examination.

When you make your appointment for your pap test, there are a few things to keep in mind so your doctor can get accurate cervical tissue sampling. For 2 days before a pap test DO NOT:
1. have sexual intercourse
2. douche
3. insert any medicated birth control, creams or lubrication into the vagina
4. sit in a bath or spa
Doing any of the above could possible skew the results of the test.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN