Embry Womens Health
OB/GYNs & Women’s Health located in Mesa, AZ
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Pap Smear Q&A
Why get a Pap smear?
The Pap smear is a simple, painless test that can screen for changes in your cervical tissue that may eventually lead to cervical cancer. Most Pap smears come out perfectly normal. An abnormal Pap smear gives your practitioner reason to monitor your cervical health more closely for a time, which gives her the opportunity to treat the underlying problem long before cancer becomes an issue. Most precancerous issues are easily treated when noted early.
What’s the test like?
It takes just a few minutes to complete and is typically part of your pelvic exam. The nurse practitioners at Embry Women’s Health understand what it’s like to have the test and spend the time it takes to make you feel comfortable, whether it’s your first or 21st exam. You’ll lie back on a padded exam table with your feet in stirrups. The practitioner will use a speculum to open your vagina so that she can have a better view of your cervix. She’ll then take a swab of the cervical tissue and send it off for analysis. It’s generally recommended you avoid douching or sexual intercourse 2-3 days before the Pap smear because foreign substances in the vagina can interfere with the accuracy of a Pap smear.
How often do I need one?
Your medical history, current health concerns, and age all play a role in determining how frequently you should have a Pap smear. Many healthcare providers recommend you have your first pap smear when you become sexually active or by age 21. After that, every 2 years is the normal recommendation, but that differs if you’ve ever had an abnormal Pap smear. In that case, your healthcare provider may want to see you back every 4-6 months until she’s sure the problem has cleared.
What if my Pap smear is abnormal?
If your Pap test remains abnormal after a second test, or the first results are concerning due to the type of abnormality noted, your practitioner may do further testing with colposcopy, a painless test that uses a tiny camera inserted into the vagina and up to the cervix that allows her to get a closer look at the cervical tissue. She’ll also take a tissue sample for biopsy at this time to discover more about the abnormal cells discovered during a biopsy.
Embry Women’s Health is committed to providing quality, affordable health care. We’re in-network with all major insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare. No insurance? No problem. We offer a simple fee schedule for those who wish to pay out-of-pocket. Click the button below for our complete list and more information:
Words from our patients
“I’ve never had an experience like this at a Doctor’s office ever! Everyone was so nice and they worked as a team to help me! They treat you like a person here”
“All the staff at Embry women’s health are professional, inviting, and very knowledgeable.”
“The entire staff was kind and welcoming. If I call with a concern they are able to help me right away. Front desk is never in a bad mood or rushing you”