What is a Pap smear test?
Pep Smear test is something that every woman should have at least once in a year. This test is done to check for the presence of any cancer cells in a woman’s womb or cervix.
There are certain preparations that need to be done prior to this test. Women should not have sex 48 hours prior to undergoing the test. They should not use tampons or a douche. Swimming, bathing in a tub or use of birth control techniques like applying jelly or cream into the vaginal area has to be avoided.
If the menstrual period falls within the date fixed for the test, then they should seek a postponement of the test in consultation with the doctor.
How is the test conducted?
The test is done on the Doctor’s examination table. The Doctor is normally accompanied by a nurse who assists in conducting the test. The test starts by inserting a plastic instrument into vagina so that it opens up.
Then, the Doctor will insert a brush or swab. By doing this, the doctor will be able to remove some cells which are then put on a slide and sent to the laboratory for examination.
The second part of the test involves the doctor putting gloved fingers into the vagina. These gloved fingers are lubricated. While doing so, the doctor will keep his other hand on the lower abdomen of the patient.
This part is essential as it allows the doctor to examine and feel the health of the ovaries, and ensure that there are no abnormalities.
Some women may experience cramps during the pelvic examination; but by and large, the test is painless. After examining the pelvic region, some doctors may also conduct a breast examination.
This is to ensure that there are no lumps, discharge from the nipples or change in the color of the breast. They may also find out when the women had her last mammogram.
The Doctor may also advise the women to conduct a periodical self-examination of the breasts. The Doctor would guide the patient on how to conduct the self-examination.
Doctors normally advise that women should have a Pap smear test before the age of 24 years.