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Pap Smear

What is a Pap Smear?

Pap smear is a specific part of a gynecological exam or pelvic exam where evaluation for cervical cancer is done.

During a Pap Smear, your provider take a sample of the cells of the cervix.

These cells are sent it to the lab for examination under the microscope to check for abnormal changes.

It is a screening test for cervical cancer or precancerous change of the cervix.

During this part of the speculum exam, your provider can also take discharges from your cervix or vagina to look for infection(s) in your genital tract.

Pap Smear Myths

I was in the ER last night and they gave me a Pap Smear.

I went to the ER 4 times last year and they did 4 Pap Smears on me.

ER providers rarely do a pap smear. In fact it is safer that ER providers do not perform pap smears.

Your ER provider did the speculum exam to check for infections of the vagina and/or the cervix

Why Get Regular Pap Smears

There are many strains of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). HPV is transmitted through sexual intercourse. These viruses can change normal cervical cells into cells that can become cancerous.

Here are some reasons to get regular Pap smears:

• Younger then 30 years old.
• Multiple sexual partners.
• Recent abnormal pap smears.
• HIV positive.
• Taking drugs that decrease your immune system (cancer treatment, steroid).

When and How Often Should I Have a Pap Smear?

It is recommended that women less 30 years of age have a Pap Smear done once a year

If you can have a Pap Smear every 3 years if you meet all these criteria: •Older than 30 years •In a sexual relationship that is stable and monogamous •Your Pap Smears, over the past 3 years were normal •Even if you meet all of these criteria and decide to get a Pap Smear every 3 years, it is recommended that you still make an appointment to see your health care provider once a year for other health care maintenance issues (i.e. cholesterol / diabetes screening, breast exam, pelvic exam, immunizations, etc.)

When Can I Stop Getting Pap Smears?

Women older than 70, in a stable sexual relationship, and have 3 consecutive normal Pap Smear, may elect to stop getting yearly pap smear. You still need yearly physical and Pelvic exam.

Female Reproductive Organs

Well Woman Exam

Your Preparation for your Well Woman's Appointment

Day of your Well Woman's Appointment

Before the Physical Exam

The Physical Exam

Tests are done depending on your age, health status, pelvic exam result and family history.

Pelvic Exam

This is an examination of the female organs in the pelvis. It has two parts—the speculum exam and the bimanual exam.

Speculum Exam

Bimanual Exam

The Healthcare Provider feels for abnormalities of your female organs.

Gynecology Topics

Common Issues


Uterine Fibroids — A Guide for Patients (provided by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Tubal Ligation

Sterilization For Women (Tubal Sterilization) — Planned Parenthood


Hysteroscopy — Amedican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists


Hysterectomy – Frequently Asked Questions — U.S. Department of Health & Human Services



Heavy or Painful Periods

Ovarian Cysts


Young Women

When should my daughter see a gynecologist?


Menopausal Hormone Therapy Information — National Institutes of Health

Women's Health Initiative

Women's Health Initiative — U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Perimenopause —

Mental Health

How Do You Know if You Have Depression?

National Institute of Mental Health

Real Stories of Depression (Does this sound like you?)

Women and Depression: Discovering Hope

Is Your Friend Depressed?

How Can I Help a Friend or Relative Who is Depressed — National Institutes of Health

Depression Treatment

Mental Health Medications — National Institutes of Health


What is Sexually Transmitted Infection

Chlamydia Infection

Gonorrhea Infection

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID

Genital Warts



Birth Control

Various Options

Various Options —

Emergency Contraception

Emergency Contraception —