What is a pap smear and why do I need it?

If you’re female, you’re going to need numerous pap smears over your lifetime. But what is a pap smear? And are pap smears necessary?

WHAT IS A PAP SMEAR?

In very basic terms, a pap smear is a way to check on the health of your cervix. A pap smear can detect any changes in the cells in your cervix which could lead to a number of concerns such as cervical cancer and Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and it can identify sexually transmitted diseases.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN I HAVE A PAP SMEAR DONE?

When you undergo a pap smear, a speculum, which can be made of plastic or stainless steel, is gently placed inside the vagina. This holds the wall of the vagina apart, giving your gynaecologist a clear view and access to your cervix. Once the speculum is in place, your gynaecologist will insert a small brush or spatula through the speculum to take a swab of your cervix. Once the swab has been completed, the speculum will be removed, and the physical part of the exam is over. The cells are then sent to the laboratory to be examined for any abnormalities.

WHEN WILL I GET THE RESULTS OF MY PAP SMEAR?

The results of your pap smear will generally be returned inside one to two weeks.

DOES AN ABNORMAL PAP SMEAR MEAN I HAVE CERVICAL CANCER?

While a pap smear can pick up cervical cancer, it is important to remember that an abnormal pap smear result does not automatically mean the worst. Often abnormal cells are caused by something entirely different and may be able to be treated quickly and easily. If any abnormalities are detected in your pap smear, Dr Suzana Kotevska will help you to navigate the next steps in your treatment.

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO HAVE A PAP SMEAR?

As a general rule of thumb, you will need a pap smear about every two years. However, this will vary depending on your age and your medical history. Based on this information, Dr Kotevska will be able to tell you just how often you need a pap smear at your consultation.

DO PAP SMEARS HURT?

While the process certainly isn’t overly comfortable, your pap smear should not be painful. The whole process is over very quickly and you’ll be able to re-commence your day’s activities.

I’M TOO SCARED TO GET A PAP SMEAR

While a pap smear can sound a little scary, it’s truly not that bad, and will be over before you know it. If you’re really nervous about it though, don’t be shy to speak to the friendly and compassionate staff at Stela Obstetrics and Gynaecology about the process and how they can help you. It’s such an important part of monitoring the health of every woman. There’s also no need to be embarrassed about getting a pap smear. Dr Kotevska is highly experienced at taking pap smears; it’s a very normal part of her job and she will help you to feel comfortable and relaxed.

WHERE TO GET YOUR PAP SMEAR IN MELBOURNE

Dr Suzana Kotevska is a highly experience obstetrician and gynaecologist, and she strives to ensure all her patients feel completely at ease and relaxed at their consultation. Apart from English, Dr Kotevska also speaks Macedonian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Bosnian and Croatian which allows her to provide excellent and personalised care to women of many backgrounds.