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How Often Do You Need A Pap Smear After Menopause

What Does A Gynecologist Do For The Woman Over 50 At An Annual Exam

How Often Should Women Get A Cervical Checkup? (pap smear test)

We look at changes in vaginal discharge, ovarian cysts, changes in uterine size and presence of cervical polyps that may be signs of early disease. The patient may have evidence of pelvic organ prolapse. This will lead to questions about urinary symptoms such as incontinence, hesitancy and urgency. More often than not, if I don’t ask questions about subjects that patients may be too embarrassed to talk about, they won’t tell me. And if no one examines the vagina, they’re not going to be able to detect these things.

Painful Pap Smear After Menopause

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Are There Other Tests For Breast Cancer Besides Mammograms

This is another area where the experts do not agree. The USPSTF recommends against self breast exams. The American Cancer Society , however, states women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report changes to a doctor right away. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that women in their 20s and 30s should get a clinical breast exam with their doctor at least every three years, and annually after the age of 45. The USPSTF does not feel that there is enough evidence to make a recommendation regarding clinical breast exam in women age 40 or older.

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How Is The Pelvic Exam Performed

During a typical pelvic exam, your doctor or nurse will:

  • Ask you to take off your clothes in private.
  • Talk to you about any health concerns.
  • Ask you to lie on your back and relax.
  • Press down on areas of the lower stomach to feel the organs from the outside.
  • Help you get in position for the speculum exam.
  • Ask you to bend your knees and to place your feet in holders called stirrups.
  • Perform the speculum exam. During the exam, a device called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina. The speculum is opened to widen the vagina so that the vagina and cervix can be seen.
  • Perform a Pap smear if indicated. Your provider will use a plastic or wooden spatula and small brush to take a sample of cells from the cervix. A sample of fluid may also be taken from the vagina to test for infection.
  • Remove the speculum.
  • Perform a manual exam with their fingers. Your provider will typically place two fingers inside the vagina and use the other hand to gently press down on the area they are feeling. Your doctor is noting if the organs have changed in size or shape.
  • Sometimes a rectal exam is performed. Your doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to detect any tumors or other abnormalities.
  • Finally, your doctor will talk to you about the exam.
  • Can A Gyno Pop Your Cherry

    What does an abnormal pap smear result mean?

    A pelvic exam or a vaginal exam cannot reveal with absolute certainty that a woman is a virgin or has been sexually active. A gynecologist cant tell if you are a virgin by doing a physical exam because of the variation in different hymens and the absence of a hymen isnt an indicator of sexual activity.

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    How Is A Pap Test Done

    Dr. Burrows do a Pap Test during a pelvic exam. It is a quick test that takes only a few minutes. You will be asked to lie down on an exam table, letting your knees fall to the side. A sheet will cover your legs and stomach. The doctor will put an instrument called a speculum into your vagina, opening it to see the cervix and to do the Pap Test. She will use a special stick, brush or swab to take a few cells from inside and around the cervix. The cells are placed on a small glass slide, then checked by a lab to make sure they are healthy. While painless for most women, a Pap Test can cause discomfort for some women.

    Why Skipping Your Pap Smear After Menopause Is Risky

    Like many women, Cynthia* is an expert at juggling a full-time job with caring for her family. Unfortunately, when it comes to taking care of her own health, she hasnt always been so vigilant. Usually, Cynthia visits her doctor only when shes really sicknot for preventive care. And after menopause, visits to her gynecologist seemed even less important.

    I went through menopause in my early 40s, says Cynthia, a Main Line Health employee. And when I stopped having my periods, it was out of sight, out of mind. My attitude was, Oh well, Im through menopause and I stopped getting periods I guess Im done worrying about that. Nothings going to happen to me.

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    Women 30 To : Pap Smear Every Three Years Hpv Testing Optional

    Having a Pap smear every three years is sufficient for this age group as well, according to the USPSTF. But women also may choose to have the human papillomavirus test or a combination of both tests every five years.

    Research confirms that HPV causes almost all cervical cancers, and the HPV test has gained traction as a viable way to screen for the disease. Some HPV strains resolve on their own, but others can lead to cancer.

    Identifying the presence of these high-risk strains can be an added precaution to help women catch cervical cancer in its earliest stages. If the HPV test results are negative for high-risk strains, women dont have to be tested again for five years, which is a relief for many women, says Romano.

    How Much Does The Test Cost

    When Do I No Longer Need To Schedule A Regular Pap Smear?

    The cost of a Pap smear depends on where the test is taken and if you have insurance coverage. Costs of testing may include the office visit, the fee for the healthcare professional to conduct the Pap smear, and the actual laboratory analysis.

    If your doctor recommends a Pap smear, these costs are typically covered by insurance, but, depending on your plan, you may be responsible for copays or a deductible. Your doctor and insurance plan can provide more specific information about your costs for a Pap smear. Local and federal health departments may offer financial assistance programs for Pap smears for people who dont have insurance.

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    How Should I Prepare For A Pap Smear

    Some things that you do in the days before a Pap smear can affect test results. For the most accurate results, you should:

    • Not have vaginal sex for two days before your exam.
    • Not use tampons, vaginal creams or medicines, birth control foams or jellies, lubricants or douches for at least two days before the test.
    • Schedule the appointment at least five days after your period ends.

    What Is A Colposcopy

    During a colposcopy, your doctor or nurse takes a closer look at abnormal areas on your cervix and uses an instrument with a light and magnifier to make the abnormal areas easier to see. Your doctor or nurse might use a small amount of vinegar on your cervix to make any abnormal areas stand out.

    If there is an abnormal area on the cervix, your doctor or nurse will perform a biopsy to check for cancer cells. Results of these tests will help your doctor or nurse decide on the best treatment to recommend.

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    Women 21 To 2: Pap Smear Every Three Years

    Women ages 21 to 29 should have a Pap smear every three years to test for abnormal cell changes in the cervix.

    This is a shift from the Pap smear once a year mentality of decades past. Thanks to an abundance of research, we now know that yearly Pap smears arent necessary for a majority of women.

    Why? First, disease progression the time between the appearance of precancerous lesions and the development of invasive cervical cancer is slow. Second, womens bodies resolve some abnormal cellular changes on their own in time. Screening annually can increase the likelihood of unnecessary follow-up procedures, such as biopsies.

    I Was Told My Pap Test Was Irregular What Happens Next

    Do You Still Need a Pap Smear After Menopause?

    Dr. Jessie: If your Pap screening test winds up abnormal, it is important to schedule diagnostic testing. The diagnostic test for an abnormal Pap is called a colposcopy. During this procedure, your doctor places a speculum in order to visualize your cervix and coats your cervix in a dilute vinegar solution. Your doctor will then look through a magnifier to look for any areas highlighted by the vinegar. If any possible abnormal areas are found, your doctor will do biopsies of your cervix. This may include biopsies of the external cervix or sampling of the internal cervix. This process can be a little crampy but is generally pretty quick.

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    What Increases A Womans Risk For Cancer Of The Cervix

    Any woman can get cancer of the cervix. But, the chances of getting cancer of the cervix increase when a woman:

    • Starts having sex before age 18
    • Has many sexual partners
    • Has sexual partners who have other sexual partners
    • Has or has had Human Papilloma Virus or genital warts
    • Has or has had a sexually transmitted disease
    • Is over the age of 60
    • Smoking

    What Happens During Pap And Hpv Tests

    Your doctor or nurse can do a Pap test in the exam room of a doctors office. You will lie down on your back on an exam table. You will place your feet on either side of the table in footrests . Your doctor or nurse will put a tool called a speculum into your vagina and will open it to see your cervix.

    Your doctor or nurse will use a special stick or soft brush to take a few cells from the surface of and inside your cervix and vagina. Your doctor or nurse will put the cells on a glass slide or in a small container and send them to a lab for testing. If your doctor or nurse orders an HPV test, the cells taken for your Pap test are tested for HPV at the same time.

    Pap and HPV tests usually last about 5 minutes. You may have some spotting afterward.

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    Normal Vs Abnormal Pap Test Results

    Your Pap test results will came back normal or abnormal. A normal Pap test indicates that all of the cells within your cervix look normal and healthy. An abnormal Pap test indicates the presence of abnormal cells, but that does not automatically mean you have cancerous cells in your body.

    There are a number of reasons abnormal cells are detected, aside from the presence of HPV and cancer. Other leading causes of abnormal Pap test results include inflammation, changes to your menstrual cycle and an underlying infection.

    Mayo Clinic Q And A: Women Over 65 May Not Need Pap Tests


    DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am way past my childbearing years and do not have any health problems. Do I need to continue getting Pap smears? At what age is this test no longer necessary?

    ANSWER: Getting regularly scheduled Pap smears is important for almost all women. That said, whether you need to continue getting Pap smears, also called Pap tests, depends on your age, risk factors for cervical cancer and results of past Pap tests.

    Pap smears often can catch cervical cancer in its earliest stages, many times before it has even progressed to being cancer. Therefore, they are one of the most reliable prevention steps you can take to protect yourself against cervical cancer.

    During a Pap test, your health care provider uses a brush to retrieve cell samples from your cervix to look for abnormal changes. Pap tests also may be combined with an HPV or human papillomavirus test, which looks for the presence of high-risk strains of the sexually transmitted virus HPV, which is the biggest risk factor for cervical cancer.

    Women should start getting Pap smears when they turn 21 unless they are infected with HIV or if their immune system is compromised. Women 21 to 29 with previous normal Pap smear results should have the test every three years. For women 30 and older, a Pap smear may be performed every three years as well however, sometimes the Pap smear is recommended every five years if the procedure is combined with testing for HPV.

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    Why Is This Dangerous

    Patients are missing out on all of the other things that a gynecologist does during the annual exam. And if they’re just seeing a primary care physician, they only have 15 minutes to cover things like cholesterol, high blood pressure, medications. That doesn’t leave enough time to discuss issues that are pertinent to women’s health, especially those over 50 years of age.

    WomanCare at NCH offers three locations and 14 highly trained medical physicians who provide exceptional care and a wide range of services. Call today for an appointment.

    A Pap Smear Is Different From A Pelvic Exam

    Yes, a Pap smear and pelvic exam are different and yes, you need both!

    • A pelvic exam is typically performed at your annual well-woman visit with your gynecologist or womens health provider. During this exam, your doctor will check your vulva, vagina, cervix, ovaries, uterus, rectum and pelvis for any abnormalities.
    • A Pap smear specifically tests for cervical cancer. If youre due for one, you can get a Pap smear during your annual pelvic exam.

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    If You’re 65 Or Older

    You’ll usually stop being invited for screening once you turn 65. This is because it’s very unlikely that you’ll get cervical cancer.

    You’ll only be invited again if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal.

    If you’re 65 or older and have never been for cervical screening, or have not had cervical screening since the age of 50, you can ask your GP for a test.

    How Often Should You Have A Pap Smear

    Do I Need a Pap Smear If I Had a Hysterectomy?

      A few decades ago, cervical cancer was one of the most common cancers diagnosed in women. Thanks to the increased use of Pap smears, we can now catch this type of cancer in its precancerous stages and take immediate action. In fact, there are fewer than 14,000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed each year in the United States, all thanks to the Pap test.

      At Shelnutt Gynecology, Dr. Judson Shelnutt understands the value of preventive health screenings and the Pap smear is one of the easiest and most effective tools that we have in our arsenal.

      Heres a look at why we perform regular Pap smears and how often you should have them.

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      What Is A Pap Test

      A Pap test is a test your doctor or nurse does to check your cervix for any cells that are not normal. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus , which opens into the vagina. Abnormal cervical cells, if not found and treated, can lead to cervical cancer.

      During a Pap test your doctor or nurse puts a speculum into your vagina and uses a special stick or soft brush to collect cells from the outside of your cervix. The cells are sent to a laboratory for testing.

      The Womans Clinic Is Here To Help

      Although we cant stop menopause, there are ways to make it more comfortable and easy to manage. If youre approaching menopausal age and have begun feeling some physical or mental changes and are concerned about your health care, schedule an appointment with us to discuss your concerns and we can lend a hand in helping to determine coping strategies, treatment options, or other ways of managing the changes in your body.

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      Do I Still Need A Pap Smear Now That I Am Menopausal

      Even if you are menopausal or postmenopausal, you should continue to have Pap or HPV tests. Women who have had a total hysterectomy for a noncancerous condition and have not had a previous history of precancerous Pap tests may be able to stop Pap screening depending on their medical history and risk of contracting human papilloma virus . Screening may also be discontinued at ages 65 or 70 if women have had at least three normal Pap tests in a row and no abnormal Pap tests in the previous 10 years.

      Do You Have Advice For Women Who Experience Pain During Intercourse

      Cervical Cancer Prevention: Pap Smear Screening Guidelines

      Pain with intercourse is definitely a very common symptom of menopause and is completely treatable. There are very safe hormonal remedies and now we offer laser vaginal rejuvenation which is a painless office procedure that restores the vagina to the premenopausal state. Most women are candidates for these things.

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      Can Menopause Cause An Irregular Pap Result

      Dr. Jessie: Yes! After menopause a womans estrogen levels decrease to very low levels. The vaginal tissues are affected by estrogen. Thinning of the tissues can make the cells appear abnormal on a Pap. The colposcopy will help determine the difference between actual abnormal cells and cells that appear abnormal because of thinning of the tissues.


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