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In Office Procedures: Pap Smears

Women should begin having regular Pap screenings once they are 18 years old or once they are sexually active. A Pap smear is a screening test that allows your doctor to make sure that the cells in your cervix are normal and healthy. This is done by brushing cells off of the cervix and having a lab examine them more closely. It is important to get a Pap test yearly (or every 6 months in some cases) in order to detect precancerous cells.

A Pap test can come back abnormal for a variety of reasons, some of which include: infections, sexual activity, irregular periods, and HPV (human papilloma virus). After an abnormal Pap result your doctor may recommend having another test within a few months. It may also be necessary to schedule a colposcopy. This is where your physician is able to look more closely at the cells in your cervix (for more information please see colposcopy).

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