“Health is wealth,” goes the saying. When you are not healthy, you are stuck with medicine and a lack of appetite instead of living your best life. It doesn’t have to be reiterated: your health is very important. This is why you need to get a pap smear (test) regularly, if you’re sexually active.
A pap smear is a procedure used to screen for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix – the opening of the uterus. For the procedure, cells are scraped from your cervix and examined under a microscope to find the erring cells. It is a mildly uncomfortable procedure but it doesn’t usually cause any long-term pain.
WHO NEEDS A PAP SMEAR?
Experts all over the world recommend that every woman above 21 years of age take a pap smear every three years. If you’re above 30, you may want to look into HPV (Human Papillomavirus) screening as well – HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer.
Most cervical cancers are caused by HPV which is sexually transmitted. However, not all cervical cancers are caused by viruses so you should still have regular pap smears whether you’re sexually active or not.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A PAP SMEAR?
- If you’re menstruating, alert your doctor ahead of time because it may affect your results.
- Avoid sexual activity and spermicidal products a day before the test.
- During the procedure, relax, take deep breaths and stay calm.
WHAT DO THE RESULTS OF A PAP SMEAR MEAN?
There can only be two results when you take a pap smear: normal or abnormal.
If your tests results say “normal”, that means all is well. If it says “abnormal”, don’t panic because it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer just yet. It just means you have abnormal cells in your cervix and some of them could be cancerous. Oh, pap tests are very accurate too. They get it right at least 80 percent of the time according to some reports.
So, there you have it – all the gist you need to know about pap smears and why you need them. As another saying goes, “Health is wealth,” so remember to focus on staying healthy in 2020. You can do it!