A Pap smear, which screens for early signs of cervical cancer, is an important component of wellness care for all women. Dr. Cindy Bui, an OBGYN at Southwest WomanCare OBGYN in Houston, Texas, performs Pap smears designed to meet your individual needs. This type of test may need to be conducted anywhere from once a year to every three years or more.
Pap Smears Q & A
Who should have Pap smears?
Almost all women need to have Pap smears, as they are a critical tool in preventing cervical cancer and other reproductive concerns. A woman’s first Pap smear is typically conducted at age 21. All women who are currently sexually active, or who have been sexually active in the past, should have a Pap smear even if it’s been a long time since the last sexual activity. Even women who have been with just one sexual partner their entire life and women who are in same-sex relationships need to have Pap smears. In some cases, women who are past menopause may not need to have Pap smears any longer. Dr. Bui will make her recommendations based on your individual circumstances.
How does a Pap smear work?
For a Pap smear, you’ll lay comfortably in the same way that you do during a standard pelvic examination. Dr. Bui will then place a speculum gently into the vagina. The speculum is a gradually expandable device that opens the cervix. Once the cervix is opened up enough, Dr. Bui can collect a very small sample of cells from the inner cervix. The Pap smear process takes only a couple of minutes, and there isn’t any pain for most patients.
How long does it take to get the results from the Pap smear?
At Southwest WomanCare OBGYN, results will be posted to your patient portal and you will receive an automated voicemail to view your results when they are ready. This may take a few days or up to a week. If the Pap smear is abnormal, Dr. Bui will call you directly. If you do not wish to use the
If you do not wish to use the patient portal at this time, Southwest WomanCare OBGYN will contact you with your results.
How often are Pap smears needed?
It varies based on the individual patient and their specific state of health. Some women need to have a Pap smear during their yearly exam.
How often should women have Pap smears?
Most OBGYNs recommend that their patients have Pap smears once a year. The test frequency may need to be adjusted according to current health concerns, current age, and other factors. In some cases, a Pap smear is done as part of a regular yearly check-up. However, most women in the 21 to 65 age group need to have a Pap smear only every three years. Dr. Bui will recommend the Pap smear schedule that’s right for you.