Pap Smear in Live Oaks, TX
Is a Yearly Pelvic Exam or Pap Smear Still Necessary?
Women no longer need to dread their annual pelvic exam! According to the American College of Physicians, a pelvic exam and a pap smear aren’t necessary to have every year. So what changed and is this the safest decision for women?
What Does a Pap Smear Test?
To better understand why it’s not necessary to have an annual pap smear, it’s important to know exactly what the doctor is looking for during the exam. A pap test checks the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, for abnormal cell changes. Cells can change and, if they aren’t detected and treated, it can lead to cervical cancer. It is a critical part of preventative care and early detection. Dr. Huyen T. Nguyen is a board-certified physician with over twenty-five years of experience treating women in Live Oak, Texas. Call (210) 599-4086 to schedule an appointment at our primary care office in Live Oak today!
Why Aren’t Annual Pelvic Exams or Pap Smears Required Anymore?
If pap smears can help detect cancer, why are physicians finding that they aren’t necessary to have annually? Here are a few reasons annual pelvic exams and pap smears aren’t required every year:
- There are too many false positives – Frequent screening leads to more frequent need for follow up tests that can be invasive and have unwanted side effects, including problems related to future pregnancies and delivery, as well as increased anxiety and time away from work or home.
- Screening every three years is perfectly safe – Studies show that screening every three years is adequate for early detection.
- Women are getting pap smears too young – Women under the age of 21 shouldn’t be getting a pap smear because it increases the odds of false positives even more. At the age of 21, women should get their first pap smear and talk to their physician about what they suggest about pelvic exams in the future.
New Recommendations for Pap Smears
Here are the recommendations for women who are at an average risk for cervical cancer:
- Under the age of 21: No pap smear necessary
- 21 to 29: Pap smear required once every three years
- 30 to 65: Pap smear required every three years or a combination of a Pap smear and HPV test every five years.
- More than 65: No pap smear necessary if all recent screenings have been normal
Please note that it’s still important to see your OBGYN more than once every three years for proper preventive care and for questions about women’s health.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Dr. Huyen Nguyen has extensive experience performing pap smears at her office near San Antonio. She will take the time to fully explain the exam and answer any questions you have. Dr. Huyen Nguyen believes that preventative care is the key to long-term health and wellness and will be sure to address any concerns you may have regarding your health. Call our primary care office in Live Oak, Texas at (210) 599-4086 to schedule your pap smear or pelvic exam today.