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