Your First Pap Smear: What to Expect
If you’ve never been for a Pap smear before, the thought of it could make you a little anxious. However, the process is nothing to worry about Choma. It’s a quick, painless procedure that could actually save your life. A Pap smear is a medical procedure that helps to detect any problems in a woman’s cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina). The healthcare practitioner you go to for the test will check for infections or any other problems, such as abnormal cells that may develop into cancer.
When should I get my first Pap smear?
Unless you’re sexually active, you don’t really have to worry about a Pap smear if you’re under 21. Regardless of being sexually active or not, once you’re 21 Choma, you should start going for regular annual Pap smears to ensure that your health is in check. If you’re a woman in your 20s and have normal Pap smear results then you would only need to go for a test every 3 years. However, there are some women who might be required to go for a Pap smear test more often than that, so just remember to check with your healthcare practitioner.
What is the procedure like?
Like I said Choma, it is a painless procedure. However, it might be just a little uncomfortable. One way in which it is uncomfortable is that you are required to remove your underwear (because that’s what you need to do in order for your healthcare provider to check your cervix). Keep in mind that this is a healthcare provider who has probably done this procedure many times before so they won’t be feeling awkward about it. They understand the procedure and the purpose behind it. So just relax Choma. However, it is important to remember that you can go with a close friend or family member to support you as well.
There might also be slight discomfort during the actual procedure. The healthcare practitioner will use a speculum (a thin piece of plastic or metal that opens and closes) to gently widen your vagina. At this point you might feel a little bit of pressure and discomfort. However, the healthcare practitioner will tell you when they are about to use it so that you are aware. It would feel less uncomfortable if you relax. Try do some breathing exercises and relax your vaginal muscles Choma. Once the health practitioner has put the speculum in place, they will examine your cervix.
Putting in and opening the speculum shouldn't hurt Choma. However, some women do say that they might feel a bit of pressure and discomfort. The healthcare practitioner will examine the inside of your cervix by shining a light in it. They will also use a small brush to take some cells from the inside of your cervix. This sample that is collected will be sent to a laboratory for testing.
After that, you’re all done! Some women might experience bleeding, which is why they will supply you with a pantyliner. If you do experience a little bit of bleeding, don’t panic Choma. It’s not the same as period bleeding and won’t last long at all.
The healthcare practitioner will tell you when you can expect your results, but this is usually after three weeks. Once those results come back, your healthcare practitioner will be able to explain exactly what they mean (whether they are normal or abnormal results) and advise you on required treatment if necessary.
Pap smears are extremely important because they can pick up cancerous cells early, so don’t feel afraid of going for once when you need to Choma.
Do you have more questions about Pap smears Choma? Remember that you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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