A Pap smear, sometimes called a Pap test, checks for cervical cancer and abnormalities in your cervical cells. During the test, your doctor collects cells from your cervix.
Pap tests are usually recommended every three years, but more frequent testing might be necessary for women at a higher risk of cervical cancer or women with certain underlying medical conditions.
A Pap test is a quick and convenient in-office procedure. You’re either asked to undress completely or from the waist down. You wear a gown and lie on an exam table with your knees bent and your feet in stirrups.
Once you’re comfortable and ready, your doctor carefully places an instrument called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum gently holds open the vaginal walls to allow your doctor to view your cervix.
Your doctor scrapes a small sample of your cervical cells using a small, soft brush. The sample goes to a lab to be examined for any abnormalities that could point to cancer.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of over 100 related viruses that typically cause warts on the genitals and other areas of the body. Some strains can lead to cervical cancer and cancer of the vagina, vulva, penis, anus, and parts of the mouth and throat. Some strains of HPV are sexually transmitted.
Your doctor can conduct an HPV screening at the same visit as a Pap test. HPV can lead to cervical cancer, so screening for HPV is another effective way to check for cervical cancer.
The symptoms of HPV can occur in different places depending on the type of infection. Warts are the most common visible sign and can grow in different parts of the body, including the genitals. HPV is common among people with multiple sexual partners. If you have concerns or symptoms, it’s important to mention it to your doctor.
There are different types of warts. In some cases, your immune system fights off the infection before warts develop.
The Louisiana Women’s Healthcare specialists can help you plan the appropriate testing and screenings to take care of your sexual health. Learn more and call or click to book your Pap test and HPV screening today.