A Pap smear is a vital part of a gynecological exam used to screen for HPV and abnormal cells that can develop into cervical cancer. However, there are many common misconceptions surrounding Pap smears, from how getting one feels to when you need one. To learn more about why these tests are a crucial part of OB-GYN services, check out the guide below.
Common Misconceptions About Pap Smears, Debunked
1. Getting One Hurts
The most common myth about Pap smears is that they’re painful. While the process can be uncomfortable, any discomfort you experience will be very brief. For many women, the collection of cells isn’t an issue, but the sensation caused by the speculum tool can cause discomfort.
To make an exam more comfortable, take slow deep breaths and relax the muscles between your legs. If you experience any pain or unease, tell your doctor or nurse so they can adjust for your needs.
2. They’re Not Necessary If You’ve Only Had One Sexual Partner
Most individuals who have HPV never develop symptoms or health problems from the infection, making it one of the most commonly missed STIs.
Assuming your partner is HPV-free is not a guarantee, so don’t assume anyone is HPV negative until they’ve been tested for it—yourself included. When it comes to your sexual health, seeking out preventative care with regular OB-GYN services is the best method for staying healthy.
3. An Abnormal Result Means Cancer
Abnormal cells found in the cervix is called cervical dysplasia and refers to when cervical cells don’t follow their normal shape or movement. Sometimes abnormal cells can indicate a risk of cancer. However, abnormal results don’t automatically mean a patient has cervical cancer or will develop it later on.
If you receive abnormal results, don’t panic. Your doctor will likely follow up with a repeat Pap and HPV test, analyze the type of abnormality found, and walk you through the results. Some abnormal results are caused by recent infection or are simply abnormal with no adjoining indications of cancer.
For compassionate OB-GYN services, look no further than Greece OB-GYN, LLP in Rochester, NY. For over 30 years, the team of gynecologists and obstetricians has offered a wide range of health services, including Pap smears and pregnancy tests, as well as breast exams and family planning. Their newest doctor on staff, Dr. Zoila Velastequi, is taking new patients. To schedule an appointment with her or another doctor, call (585) 225-6680 or visit their website to learn more about their services. The facility offers evening hours for their patients’ convenience.