Pap smears are an essential preventive health tool throughout your reproductive years. OB/GYN Athiya Javid, MD, of Nür Wellness Clinic in San Jose, California, provides these screenings during routine well woman exams. If you’re overdue for Pap smear testing, booking a visit takes just moments whether you choose to connect with the practice online or by phone.
A Pap smear is the leading diagnostic tool for cervical cancer. These simple tests can even detect precancerous changes that indicate a higher-than-average risk of developing cervical cancer.
Most cervical cancers are brought on by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted disease. HPV testing is commonly done alongside Pap smear screening.
Pap smear testing requires just a small sample of cells from your cervix. There is no need for invasive procedures or any form of anesthesia. The process requires less tissue than most biopsies.
Before Pap smear testing was readily available, cervical cancer was a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Today, thanks to the early detection available through Pap smears, cervical cancer can be detected in the early stages, when treatment is most effective.
The rates of cervical cancer deaths dropped dramatically after Pap smear testing became a routine part of women’s health. Now that young people and adolescents have access to the HPV vaccine, cervical cancer may soon be rare.
Pap smears are done during a pelvic exam. You rest on the exam table with your feet resting in supports called stirrups. Dr. Javid uses a medical device called a speculum to gently separate your vaginal walls.
This allows her to visually assess your vaginal and cervical tissues. She uses a medical spatula or brush to collect cells from your cervix. These cells are sent to a lab where highly trained technicians examine them microscopically to search for signs of abnormality.
You may feel a brief cramping sensation as Dr. Javid collects these cells, but there is no significant pain. Some women report no sensation at all during Pap smears. Some minor spotting and cramping is normal in the hours after your Pap smear.
It takes a few days for the lab to return your results. If your results are negative, you may not need another Pap smear test during your next well-woman exam. If your results are positive, Dr. Javid explains which screening options should follow.
When you’re ready to book your next visit, call or reach out online to find a time that fits your schedule.