Going to preventive health tests is very important these days. It not only gives us a thorough insight into our health condition but also gives awareness of how to take care of our health. Pap Smear Test is one such preventive care test that tells us the tale of our vaginal and cervical health.
Why you should take an annual Pap Smear Test?
A Pap Smear Test screens the presence of any abnormal cells and tissues in your cervix and if it is cancerous. It is meant to detect cervical cancer in its early stages. A sample of the cervical cell is collected from the walls of the cervix and tested in the lab for the presence of the HPV virus.
There has been a significant decrease in cervical cancer cases in the US since the awareness of Pap Smear Test. An early detection of cervical cancer has higher chances of it getting cured completely.
Who should take a Pap Smear Test?
Now that you have known the importance of Pap Smear Test, you might be wondering if you need to go for a test. Consider these factors to get a test done:
- If you are above 21 years and are sexually active, you need a test every 3 years
- If you are between 21 – 29 years and are sexually active, you need a test every 3 years
- If you are between the 30 – 65 years age group, you need a test every 5 years if your previous Pap Smear and HPV tests have been negative
- If you are above 65 years, you might not need a test any longer. Consult your doctor.
However, if you already had a hysterectomy, you can stop having a Pap Smear test after 3 consecutive negative tests.
How should you prepare for a Pap Smear Test?
Pap Smear Tests are always an accurate screening of your cervical health, but for accurate results, here are some criteria you need to keep in mind before going for a Pap Smear Test. Avoid such activities for 48 hours –
- Having sex
- Tampon use
- Using vaginal sprays or lubricants
Also, keep in mind not to go for a Pap Smear Test when you are on your period or you are into your second and third trimester of pregnancy.
What does an abnormal Pap Smear Test indicate?
An abnormal Pap Smear Test does not necessarily mean that you are having cervical cancer. It might indicate some other health conditions too like –
- Presence of HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Cervical Dysplasia
- Trichomoniasis and other STIs
- Vaginal Infections
Another reason for abnormal Pap Smear Test can also indicate the onset of menstruation cycle.
Every woman should go for a Pap Smear Test as part of their preventive health checkup. It is important as it will detect the development of any abnormal health condition at an early stage.
Discuss with your doctor, after all, Pap Smear Test is a lifesaver.