There can be changes in your cervical cells without it being anything to worry about, but in some cases, changes are the first stage of cervical cancer. That’s why it's essential to get regular Pap smears at Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having a regular Pap smear is the best way to catch cancer before it becomes untreatable, and it only takes a few minutes of your time. Call to schedule your Pap smear or book online today.
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is a screening test that your provider performs to check for early signs of cervical cancer. It's an in-office procedure that lasts between 10-20 minutes, during which your provider at Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness takes some cells from your cervix — the organ that forms the entrance to your uterus.
The cells go to a specialized lab where expert technicians analyze them to look for any changes. They send the results to your provider, who discusses the findings with you and what the next steps are.
What happens during a Pap smear?
When you visit Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness for your Pap smear, you lie on a comfortable examination table in the office. You put your knees up, then drop them to either side for the test.
Your provider applies a lubricating gel to your vagina. They then insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina to open up the walls and see your cervix. After visually checking your vagina and cervix, your provider passes a swab inside to gather the cervical cells.
You shouldn't feel any pain during your Pap smear, but you might feel pressure as the speculum expands and you might be aware of the swab. If at any time you do feel uncomfortable, tell your provider.
Once they've done the swab, your provider gently takes the speculum out and you can sit up and get dressed. The sample goes into a sealed, labeled container ready to go to the lab. You can carry on with your day as normal following your Pap smear.
What do my Pap smear results mean?
Your Pap smear results should be back within a couple of days. If your result is negative, it means there aren't any changes in your cervical cells. You don't need to do anything but go for your next routine Pap smear when it's due. You should have a Pap smear at least every three years from the ages of 21-65.
If your result is positive, the most common cause is mild inflammation or minor cell changes. These conditions often resolve themselves without treatment, so the team at Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness will likely book you for another Pap smear in a couple of months.
If your provider sees anything in your Pap smear results that need further investigation, they can order more tests to identify the problem. You might need to undergo a colposcopy. This is a procedure that enables your provider to examine your cervix in more detail and take a tissue sample.
If you're due for a Pap smear, call Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness or book your appointment online today.