As a woman, one of the most dreaded appointments is the annual or bi-annual pap smear and gynecological examination. It is not painful, but it is often uncomfortable and embarrassing for some women. However, this appointment is extremely important to keep, especially for sexually active women. Here are a few reasons that every woman should make sure to undergo their regularly scheduled pap smears and gynecological exams.
- STD detection. During a gynecological and pelvic exam, many sexual transmitted diseases can be detected. STDs can affect a woman’s ability to conceive, have healthy children and can even endanger their lives. Early detection and treatment of STDs is the best way to protect their health.
- Cervical cancer. Pap smears don’t detect cervical cancer but they can detect precancerous cells and changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer. Early detection through pap smears can prevent cervix cancer through preventive treatments.
- An abnormal pap smear could mean the presence of the human papillomavirus or HPV. This sexually transmitted virus can be a precursor to several different types of cancer and includes over a 150 different viruses. If a woman has an abnormal pap smear, testing for HPV can be performed and treatment can be started to prevent many of the health problems caused by HPV.
There are different recommendations on how often a woman should have a pap smear, based on their age, sexual activity and health history. Most sexually active women should have a pap smear at least once every two years unless told otherwise by their OB/GYN. It is one of the best ways to prevent cervix and other types of cancer, plus ensure reproductive health.
Posted on behalf of
Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.
699 Church Street #220
Marietta, GA 30060
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