Regular Pap test screenings are the best way of catching cervical cancer early. The experienced doctors at Southeast Texas OB/GYN Associates, PA in Beaumont, Texas provide routine pelvic examinations and Pap smears to care for all of your reproductive health needs.
Pap Smear Q & A
A Pap test, or Pap smear, is a test that screens for cervical cancer. The cervix is the narrow, lower opening of the uterus.
During a Pap smear, your doctor holds your vagina open with a speculum so your doctor can gently scrape cells from your cervix for testing.
Pap tests are often done in tandem with pelvic exams. They can be slightly uncomfortable, but they aren’t painful.
Early detection is an essential step in treating and preventing cervical cancer. A Pap test not only identifies abnormal cells that may be present, but it can also detect troublesome cells that may develop into a problem down the road.
It’s advisable that regular Pap testing begins at age 21. The frequency of testing varies depending on age and your individual needs, but your doctor may recommend more frequent testing if you:
- Were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth
- Have a history of precancerous cells or cervical cancer
- Have HIV or a weakened immune system from chemotherapy or other factors
If you’ve had a total hysterectomy, you no longer need Pap smears. Some women over 65 with a history of normal Pap smears may also discontinue Pap tests. Your doctor will work with you to determine the Pap testing that is best for you.
An abnormal Pap test does not mean that you have cancer, it just indicates that the cells on your cervix have changed. Approximately 5-10% of women who have annual Pap smears will have an abnormal result. Abnormal results can be caused by:
- Viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Bacterial, fungi (yeast), or protozoa (Trichomonas) infections
- Natural cervical changes (atrophic vaginitis) related to menopause
Several factors can increase your chances of having an abnormal Pap smear, including smoking or an impaired immune system.
High-risk sexual behavior by you or your partner could also be a contributing factor, including having multiple partners and not using condoms. These behaviors can increase your chances of contracting infections and sexually-transmitted diseases which can directly affect your cervical cells. If you have an abnormal Pap test, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy.
Early detection plays an important role in treating and preventing cervical cancer. Call or schedule your Pap test online today with Southeast Texas OB/GYN Associates, PA.
If you have what seems like PMS, your doctor performs an exam and discusses your medical history. Documenting your symptoms for at least two menstrual cycles aids the diagnostic process, since you can tell your doctor when they appear and disappear.
Many women find relief for their PMS symptoms through lifestyle changes and exercise. Depending on your unique situation, your doctor may also recommend:
- Antidepressants to reduce mood swings
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for breast pain and cramping
- Diuretics to reduce water retention
- Hormonal contraceptives to stop ovulation
If you think you have PMS, call or schedule an appointment online with Southeast Texas OB/GYN Associates, PA, to explore the treatments available.