The Pap Talk

No comments
Who should get a pap test? 

                                                         image32.jpg (620×387)

1. Every women should have a regular smear test, including women who have never had a sexual experience
2. Even if you are no longer sexually active, cancer can develop long after sexually activity.
3. All women regardless of their sexual preference (heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian or transgender female to male).

The pap test is a procedure every women should get starting at the age of 21. The procedure is performed by a certified health care professional such as a practitioner, physician assistant or gynecologist and it involves certain tools to collect cells from the cervix.

Usually after checking in for your appointment, a medical assistant will call you back and get your vitals: height, weight, blood pressure etc. After the MA is done with your vitals, she then walks you back to the examination room. There the MA will do an additional screening assessment pertaining to your menstrual cycle history. For example: When was your last cycle?  Any symptoms since your last menstrual? Are you currently pregnant? etc. Remember, this is an opportunity to discuss any symptoms and/or concerns you may be experiencing, so the MA can document history in your medical record and inform provider.
(*MA= Medical Assistant)

Okay, after your done with the screening assessment, the medical assistant will then prep the room with the tools needed for the pap test. Such as a gown to change into, a laboratory requisition form with your patient labels, lubricant tube, speculum, small spatula, small brush and/or cotton-tipped swab. Every item should be packaged and sterile, plus the MA will open all items in front of you, so you can witness your getting clean prep tools. DO NOT HESITATE to notify MA to change the tools if you speculate an item that was not package right or was unsealed before hand.

Once the room is prepped and your ready to go the MA will notify provider and yes that means waiting an additional couple minutes before provider finally comes into room, but be ready.  Once the health care professional is in the room, remember to address any questions you may have before they get started with pap procedure. After they are done addressing questions.

You are now ready to go, take a deep breathe and don't be nervous. Think of a happy place or focus on an item in the room and remember to lay down, spread your legs wide apart and scoot all the way down on the examination bed.  The health care profession will first place the speculum inside the vagina and the speculum can be either metal or plastic. This instrument helps keep your vagina open so that the cervix can be seen clearly. Next, using a small spatula, a sample of cells and mucus is lightly scraped from the exocervix. A small brush or a cotton-tipped swab is then inserted into the opening of the cervix to take a sample from the endocervix.
    Image result for pictures of pap test 

Once the provider is done, she will then place all specimen collections in container or tubes labeled with your medical information. In addition the provider may order additional test for sexually transmitted disease.  But your not done yet, after the pap procedure, the provider will then perform a pelvic exam. And here is what to expect: the doctor looks at and feels the reproductive organs, including the uterus and the ovaries. Pelvic exams may help find other types of cancers and reproductive problems.

Pelvic exams are usually done after a pap test, but sometimes they are done without a pap test. Ask your doctor if you had a pap test with your pelvic exam.

Here are a couple tips to make your pap test result more accurate:

  • Don't schedule an appointment during your menstrual period. Best time is 5 days to a week after your menstrual period. 
  • Don't use tampons, birth control foams or jellies or other vaginal creams such as moisturizers, lubricants, vaginal medicine for 2-3 days before the pap test. 
  • Don't...douche..... for 2-3 days before the pap test.
  • Don't have vaginal sex for 2 days before pap test 
Okay, ladies, make sure you schedule your next pap appointment when you are due!!
And always check in with your provider regarding symptoms concerns etc. 

Stay tune for next week as I will write about pap test results and what it means.

Podcast series coming soon!


No comments