A PAP smear is a screening test for cervical cancer that can be performed by a primary care physician, health professional or gynecologist. Learn about how often a woman should get a PAP smear with help from an OB/GYN in this free video on women's health.
A PAP Smear is a screening test for cervical cancer that can be performed by your primary care physician, health professional or gynecologist. It is done by way of a speculum exam and is generally considered to be painless. Screening for PAP smears begins at age 21 or three years after initial vaginal intercourse. From there the recommendation is to continue yearly screening until the age of 30 or unless you have an abnormal PAP smear which would then require closer follow up. If you do have an abnormal PAP Smear the type of abnormality will be reviewed by your doctor carefully and you would probably have what is called a colposcopy which is again similar, it's another procedure similar to a PAP Smear just a little, with a more closer look at the cells of the cervix but remember that a PAP Smear is a screening test so if you do have an abnormal PAP Smear the appropriate follow up is meant to figure out exactly what the abnormality is and how serious it is. So once you reach age 30 the recommendations are not so much to have yearly PAP Smears any more but actually varying health organizations have different recommendations some recommendations are that you continue on a yearly basis, others are that you can go to every three years. It depends on each individual's own history of PAP Smears, whether normal, not normal, what the abnormality was and when it occurred. Once you have reached the age of 70 if you have never had an Abnormal PAP Smear the general consensus is that you can stop having PAP Smears. It doesn't mean that you should discontinue having pelvic exams. There could be other things that could be going wrong that should be investigated by a physician but it might not be necessary to continue with PAP Smears themselves.