A pap smear test is one of the dreaded procedures for most women. But it doesn’t have to be this bad. According to research, women need to know that a pap test saves lives, and it has a 92% cure rate for the cervical cancers detected.
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What is a Pap Test?
It’s a screening evaluation for women that helps detect any sign of cervical cancer. Though some people find it uncomfortable, it’s a quick and straightforward process critical to every woman. You can get this test in a doctor’s office where you get reclined on an exam table. Then he will insert a speculum that helps to open your vaginal walls. And using a thin brush or spatula, he collects some cells from your cervix to have them evaluated.
Before you start your test, you get an appointment with your GYN, and at that time, you can tell if he makes you comfortable. You may request a different gyno or walk away if you find him intimidating. We’ll give you tips on making your pap smear experience better.
Helpful Tips Before Pap Test
One of the best things to do for women fearing a pap test is to exercise slow, relaxed breathing. Also, timing your pap appointment around the middle of your menstrual cycle can help to make the process less uncomfortable. These are some of the best points to consider to make your pap smear test more comfortable.
Understand the Procedure
Before starting the pap test, it would help you relax if you understand the process. So, please ask as many questions as possible to your physician. What to expect, how long it takes, and the benefits of this test.
Shift your Position
Everyone has a specific position that can make them feel comfortable. Some may feel better when lying sideways, and others like to put their hands under their back. You can tell your doctor that you want to shift your position if you feel uncomfortable.
Pee Before your Pap Test.
Some OB/GYN recommend having an empty bladder before getting a pap smear test, which can relieve the pressure on your pelvic area. But if your dog doesn’t ask you to do this, you can let him know that you’re doing it.
If you ask most women, the things they dread most during a pap test are the insertion and speculum placement. If they have such, it will make you relax and feel better. Since speculums come in different lengths and widths, you can request the narrowest and shortest device.
Choose your Speculum
Other than choosing the size of your speculum, you can also request a plastic one instead of metal. Some people may not feel the difference, but the most sensitive women may feel uncomfortable because metal tends to be cold and chilly. OB/GYN have started using plastic ones more because they are disposable.
But if your gym has only the metal speculum, maybe you can request to heat it before using it. At least this makes it less cold while entering your vagina.
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How Often Should You Get a Pap Smear?
Having a routine pap smear test can be helpful, which can be after every three years. But if you incorporate it with HPV testing, this can happen every five years. At the same time, a pap test can start at 21 years old. But this is ideal for women in their 30s.
However, people who smoke, are diagnosed with cervical cancer, or have a history of abnormal test results, may require frequent tests. And the same holds for women with a weakened immune system or HIV.
Even after following all the above tips and still dreading the pain of pap smear testing, you can take some painkillers beforehand. However, this procedure shouldn’t be painful, but you may experience a little discomfort because of the pressure caused by the speculum. But it only takes a few minutes which is tolerable considering the benefits of this test.
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