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How Often Should I Get a Pap Smear?

How Often Should I Get a Pap Smear?

Taking control of your health as a woman means going for regular breast and pelvic exams, which often include a Pap smear. The Pap test is an important screening tool that allows doctors to screen for cancer cells and other cervical abnormalities.

Learn when to start getting Pap smears and how often you need them to stay ahead of your sexual and reproductive health. You may need more frequent testing if you have certain conditions or have had cervical cancer in the past.

If you're ready for a Pap smear, Dr. John Paul Roberts offers obstetrics and gynecology services to the women in Plano, Texas. He’s an experienced OB/GYN who helps you understand why Pap smears are crucial to your long-term health.

What is a Pap smear?

A Pap smear is a preventive screening tool we use to screen for cervical cancer and abnormal cell growth in the cervix. It's a simple test that only takes a few minutes but can save lives.

Dr. Roberts usually performs a Pap test during your annual pelvic exam. The Pap test is generally painless, although you may feel cramping. Dr. Roberts inserts a speculum into your vagina, then uses a tiny brush to collect tissue cells from your cervix.

He puts the cells in a small container that he sends to a lab for testing.

A Pap test helps us find cervical cancer cells early on so you can get prompt treatment. But an abnormal test doesn't always mean you have cancer; it can also be a sign of an infection or sexually transmitted disease.

A first Pap smear – when does it happen?

Women should start having pelvic exams and Pap tests around the age of 21, but the age varies for many reasons.

For example, it's a good idea to begin seeing Dr. Roberts as soon as you're sexually active. He can test for sexually transmitted diseases and other issues that can occur in young women.

You don't need a Pap test before the age of 21, but that certainly doesn't mean you should ignore your vaginal and cervical health. If you have any abnormal signs like vaginal discharge or a burning sensation, schedule an appointment.

You can also talk to Dr. Roberts about getting an HPV test before age 21 if you’re sexually active.

How often do I need a Pap smear?

Dr. Roberts recommends annual Pap smears as part of the annual pelvic examination for all patients. 

To schedule a Pap smear appointment with Dr. Roberts, call our Plano, Texas, office today at 972-591-8540 or request a consultation via this website.

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