Pap Smear Overview

For women, a gynecological exam will become a necessary and annual part of life.  New guidelines in the area of gynecological care recommend a woman have a Pap smear, also called a Pap test, around the age of 21. In the many years that follow, a routine Pap smear examination will be the main focus of these gynecological visits so that the cervix can be tested and checked for cancer.  During a routine Pap smear, a gynecologist will insert a special instrument called a speculum into the vagina to allow room to clean the cervix with a cotton swab and then to collect a sample of cells to be checked under a microscope.  It is not uncommon for a woman to receive an abnormal Pap test. If an abnormal Pap smear does result from the examination, additional tests will be done to diagnose and treat the reasons for the abnormality.

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