What Doctors Are Really Looking For During A Pap Smear
Health and Wellness

7 Things Your Doctor Is Looking For During A Pap Smear That You Want To Keep Track Of

Time to check up on your hoo-ha.

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One trip to the gynecologist and you know that your doctor will get all up in your business. But, it's all for health and wellness. A pap smear, also known as a cervical smear, also known as that smear test all women dread (other than a mammogram) is a screening tool your OBGYN conducts to check up on your vagina health.

You spread your legs, your doctor gets close up and personal, grabs some lube, and then uses a special tool to gently scrape away cells from your cervix – take a deep breath, it's a lot less intimidating than it seems. It shouldn't be painful, but it can be uncomfortable for some. Nevertheless, it's an important routine physical exam that helps your OBGYN do a thorough check-up. Your doctor will be able to recognize any abnormalities and it's good to know what those could be.

Cervical cancer

A pap smear is really a screening tool for cervical cancer, so you bet your doctor's main agenda is to check for any abnormal cells.

HPV

If your pap smear comes back negative, the cause may be an HPV infection. You will need to follow up the pap smear with an HPV test to confirm, but HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.

Abnormal vaginal discharge

Is it yellow? Green? Orange? Maybe even all the colors of the rainbow?

Cervical dysplasia

In basic words: precancers. Other than cancer cells, your OBGYN may find unusual cells that could turn into cancer in the future.

Yeast infections

The pap smear itself cannot detect and diagnose infections, but the infection may throw off the results of the test and your doctor will find vaginitis.

Trichomoniasis

Trich is a common, curable STD caused by a parasite and can be identified through pap smears. Although, a wet preparation exam should also be carried out to conclude the diagnosis.

Other STDs

Just like trich, your pap smear can also detect other viral and bacterial infections. However, keep in mind, a pap smear is not a replacement for an STD/STI test.

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