Many women fear pap smears. Other than mammograms, there is probably no other gynecological exam that is anticipated with such fear. However, pap smears are necessary. They are the first preventative method for preventing a few different types of life-threatening cancer of the cervix, and the best diagnostic tool we have to detect the HPV virus. Getting a pap smear exam in Miami is necessary for all women who live there or in the surrounding areas. Here at Dr. Susan Fox’s Center for Women, we want to demystify this life-saving test and make it more approachable. Your ongoing physical health is most important, and with a simple test, we can ensure that the worst doesn’t happen.
What is a Pap Smear Exam in Miami?
One of the terrifying things about a pap smear exam is the first pap smear exam, because you don’t know what to expect. After the first one, most women realize that it is not a thing to be scared of, but just a mildly uncomfortable test that can help them live healthier, happier, and longer lives. Specifically, though, a pap smear is an exam to test for varieties of human papillomavirus or HPV.
This test is performed by taking a swab of the tissues of the cervix, or the opening to the womb. This is achieved by using a device called a speculum to open up the vagina enough to insert the swab and take the sample. Though this sounds scary, it’s only an extension of the gynecological exam.
Once they take the sample, the results of the test are not immediate. It often takes several days or even a couple of weeks to get your results. Once they come in, your gynecology office will usually contact you to ask you to come back in.
Why Do I Need a Pap Smear Exam in Miami?
So, why the hype over a single STI? Well, unlike many STIs, HPV can have potentially deadly consequences for women. In modern times, some STIs are often treatable with antibiotics. However, some of these STIs can have long-term adverse effects. No STI exemplifies this more than HPV.
There are many strains of HPV, and most of them do not lead to cervical cancer. In fact, 75% of people likely have some strain of HPV, and many people with the less harmful strains of HPV will never have an abnormal pap smear. There are also HPV vaccines, like Gardasil. Despite this, there are 1,300 cases of cervical cancer each year.
Though it is not the most common type of cancer, it is one of the ones that is hardest to detect. By the time you notice physical symptoms, the cancer has often progressed too far to cure or prevent easily. This can lead to intense radiation treatment, anything from removal of the cervix to an entire hysterectomy, or even death. By getting your yearly or bi-yearly pap smear, you can catch HPV and cervical cancer in its infancy and ensure that it doesn’t progress into anything worse.
Who Needs a Pap Smear Exam in Miami?
If you are a woman under the age of 65, you should be getting pap smear exams. They usually begin once you are sexually active or turn 18. The chances of getting HPV are more likely the younger you are, as people are generally more sexually active in their twenties and early thirties.
By 35, you can usually drop your pap smear from yearly to bi-yearly, but this is different for different people depending on your lifestyle. You should take the advice of your gynecologist as to the frequency you should be getting your pap smear exams. Even after 65, the recommendation of reducing pap smears should be at the advice of your doctor.
The only people who likely don’t need pap smears are people who have had complete hysterectomies and women over 65 with no prior history of an abnormal pap smear.
Contact Us Today!
Pap smears are a necessary part of living a long, happy, healthy life as a woman. Here at Dr. Susan Fox’s Center for Women, we want to approach every appointment and patient with the goal of helping them live that life.
Our goal is to make sure every patient feels comfortable and at home with us, and take the fear out of pap smears and other vital gynecological tests. Choosing us for your pap smear exam in Miami will ensure that you can maintain your health in a place where people truly value you and your well-being. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.