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  • Justice for My Jewel

Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Your Annual Pap Smear

Running from your annual Pap smear is understandable. The entire process is awkward and uncomfortable. Not to mention the physical discomfort that comes from the tool that holds the vaginal walls open to swab the cervix. Just because the process is unpleasant doesn’t mean that you should avoid your annual Pap smear. For the young ladies that haven’t experienced a Pap smear, don’t be apprehensive to the point where you avoid it. That brief feeling of discomfort could potentially save your life. It’s better to know your Pap smear status than to not know.

Ladies should get their first Pap smear around the age of 21, if they haven’t had a Pap smear in the last 3 years, and if they are sexually active. According to Live Well, if you are 30 years older, you should get the HPV test along with the Pap smear. Pap smear tests will reveal abnormal cells that can develop into cervical cancer. The process can also determine abnormal cell changes from HPV, Human Papillomavirus infection. It’s suggested that women still get their annual Pap smear despite getting a HPV vaccine.

Here are some things you should avoid before a Pap smear:

  • Using a tampon

  • Getting a Pap smear on your period

  • Douching

  • Having sex

  • Using spermicidals

  • Using medicine or cream in your vagina

Results can take 1-3 weeks to come back. If your lab results come back normal, you can wait up to 3 years before getting your next Pap. If results come back abnormal, your doctor will contact you for a follow-up appointment. Following up is important in order to assess what may be going on. Make sure you are staying informed about your cervical health and getting Pap smears annually.

Featured photo by Shutterstock

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