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Gynecological & PAP Smears

As they say, health is wealth and always comes first, including your reproductive health. If you want to detect and avoid underlying reproductive health issues, you need to visit your gynecologist for regular checkups. One of the tests you are likely to undergo is called pap smears. Regardless of their age, all women should go through this type of test because it helps detect any uterine and cervical abnormalities early. Once they are detected, they can be treated quickly to prevent them from advancing further.

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What is a PAP Smear?

When doctors want to screen you for cervical cancer, pap smears are a lifesaving tool that they use. Before cancer-causing cells become cancerous, the Pap smears rest to catch them early. You can rely on Wilmington urgent care for effective HPV tests during Pap tests for early detection of viruses that can lead to cervical cancer. If the results are abnormal or unclear, it may signify an infection, cancer, or another health problem.

The pap smears test may detect other conditions such as inflammation or infections. This type of test can be performed together with the pelvic exam. Certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) may also be identified using the Pap or test or Papanicolaou test.

Why should you take a Pap smears test?

If you wonder what a Pap test is and how it is done, here are the answers. Pap test most of the time is done together with the pelvic examination. Women above 30 years undergo the Pap HPV – human papillomavirus together. The HPV virus is a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer in many women. It is typical for a doctor and the patient to agree on when and how frequently the Pap test should be done. Most doctors will advise women to start going for Pap smears test once they turn 21 years. After that, they can get this type of test once every 2 or 3 years. Women who clock 30 and above should have a Pap test every 3 or 5 years. The test, together with the HPV, rest. If a woman has a high chance of getting cervical cancer, Pap tests should be done more frequently. These risks include:

  • Women with HIV
  • A previous Pap test that showed precancerous cells
  • If a woman was exposed to DES before being birth
  • Women with weakened immune systems due to chemotherapy, organ transplant, or chronic use of corticosteroid
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HIV

Once a person has HIV, various changes occur in the body. Some of these changes may end up affecting cell generation in the urine or cervix walls. Besides that, HIV causes various subsequent infections. Since the virus weakens the immune system, such infections will attack the reproductive system. Therefore, a woman must go for frequent Pap smear screening to make sure that the cervix remains healthy. If you are HIV positive, continue taking your medication and keep your cervix and vagina healthy.

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Cancer Remission

As a patient who already tested positive for cancerous cervical cells, which later turns out to be full-blown cancer, you need to ensure that the recovery process progresses. This will ensure the cancerous cells don’t grow again. Such a case demands that the patient make more trips to the doctor than a person with no cancer, significantly reducing cervical cancer-causing cells.

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Weak Immune System

Severe pre-existing health conditions may compromise a person’s immune system. All types of infections and abnormal cells will attack the cervical tissue because the immune system is down. Causes of a weakened immune system include intense chemotherapy sessions or HIV. It may also come as a result of genetic traits that trickle down to family generations.

If your immune system is weak, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your gynecologist to get a Pap smear test. This is to reduce the complications brought forth by abnormal cells that occupy your cervical region. Your mental health sometimes determines your physical health. If you are stressed, your immune system becomes weak, and you end up getting sick now and then. You can easily prevent certain health complications once you understand what is going on in your body. Lack of proper information about your health will lead to anxiety. Therefore, ensure that you take a Pap smear test regularly to ensure what is going on in your body. However, there are certain cases where Pap tests are not necessary:

Once a total hysterectomy procedure

If you have undergone surgery that involves removal of both the cervix and uterus, you need to inquire from a doctor if the Pap smear test is necessary. The routine Pap test will no longer be necessary if a hysterectomy procedure eliminates the non-cancerous lesions. A Pap routine test may continue if the procedure removes a cancerous or a precancerous lesion.

Old age

Women who have reached the age of 65 and above may stop going for routine Pap smear tests. If you are 21 and above, you need to take the Pap test once in 2 or 3 years. If you are 30 and about, it reduces to once every 3 or 5 years, and the Pap test should be done together with the HPV test.

Benefits of Undergoing a Pap Smear Test

There is no doubt that taking a Pap smear test is highly beneficial to you as a woman because it helps you know and understands what is going on in your cervical region and the entire reproductive system. One of the most important reasons why a Pap smear test is necessary is to allow you to know if there are any cancerous cells in your cervix that can lead to cervical cancer. If you discover that they are there, you can do something to remove them before they develop into cervical cancer.

Additionally, going for routine Pap tests helps to identify and eliminate other dangerous viruses that may attack the reproductive system, such as the Human papillomavirus or HPV. This type of virus usually attacks the cervix and vagina regions of the reproductive system in women, and HPV may also cause the growth of cancerous cells. It is ideal for patients who are over 30 years to take Pap and HPV tests simultaneously. Both of these tests are important since they give vital information that may lead to the discovery of underlying health conditions. Pap smears are also helpful because they help run checks for severe infection risk factors that may lead to lifelong diseases.

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Who is Eligible for a Pap Smear Test

Many women are not sure if they are the right candidates for the Pap smear test or not. Some are confused about the proper age of getting the test. An ideal time to start taking the Pap smear test is when you are 21 years or above. This is recommended because, at this age, most women will have a fully developed cervix. This allows doctors from Wilmington urgent family care clinics to analyze cell samples properly. After the first test, it is vital to carry out routine Pap smear tests after 2 to 3 years to determine if your cervical health is progressing. This is not to say that you can’t opt for a Pap smear test if you are younger than 21. You may take this test if you suspect that you may be at higher risk of getting cervix or vaginal infections.

We always advise our patients to continue taking Pap smears if their reproductive system is affected by previous health complications. As a virgin (haven’t had sexual intercourse), you can still go for a Pap smear test. It won’t do you any harm if you take this test, even though the chances of having abnormal cervical cells are not so high. When you turn 65 years, you can go ahead and stop going for Pap smears if abnormal cervical cells have never been detected during previous tests. If you have reached this age, it is safe to say that you have a clean bill of reproductive health, especially if you have been going for regular checkups.

Another group of females that a Pap smear test won’t do them any good has had a procedure known as hysterectomy. This procedure involves completely removing the uterus from the body together with the cervical tissue. This makes going for routine Pap smears unnecessary. Since both the uterus and the cervix are not there, the doctor can’t collect any samples. For women who have undergone the hysterectomy procedure, the risk of contracting cervical cancer is not there.

How to prepare for the Pap Smear Procedure

Before the procedure

When the procedure is about to begin, the nurse or the doctor will explain to the patient what is about to happen. Here are some of the pointers that need to be considered before the procedure begins:

  • If you are in your menstrual period, don’t schedule an appointment.
  • Products such as spermicidal jellies, forms, or creams should be avoided two days before the test because they can wash away abnormal cells
  • Avoid using tampons for at least 24 hours before the procedure.
  • Refrain from having sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal medicine should be avoided.
  • Don’t douche
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during the procedure

The Pap smear procedure is performed in the doctor’s office or in an outpatient facility. The doctor only needs a few minutes to complete the test. The patient needs to address below the waist or wear a hospital gown to make it easier to do the test. The patient will then lie down on the examination table facing up while the knees are bent. Stirrups are used to support the heels while the knees are bent. An instrument called the speculum would be inserted inside the patient’s vagina. The device helps the doctor to see the cervix clearly by holding the vaginal walls. The patient may feel exertion pressure when the speculum is inserted into the pelvic region or vagina. Using a small soft brush or a spatula, the doctor will collect cell samples. There is no pain while cell samples are being collected.

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After the procedure

The type of instrument used to collect the cell samples will determine the number of times the Pap smear test will be done. One cell collection method is called the liquid-based Pap test, and it involves collecting the cell sample and preserving it by putting it in a special liquid container. The doctor may also use the conventional Pap test method where the collected cell sample is put directly onto a glass slide once it is collected.

Further tests and cancer cell detection on the collected cervical sample are done inside a laboratory. The process involves observing the cervical sample closely under a microscope, which helps detect any precancerous or cancer cells. Once the doctor finishes performing the procedure, the patient will put on the clothes she had and go back to her usual daily routine without any issues. If she was driving, she could do so without any help while going home or working.

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What to expect from the Pap smear procedure?

After several tests are done, and the results from the lab come out, the report is sent to the doctor. What follows is that the doctor will call the patient and explain in detail what the results mean. A negative or normal result will indicate no precancerous cells growing in the vagina, and the cervical cells are normal. Positive or abnormal results will show that precancerous cells are growing inside the vagina. The abnormal cells will have to be assessed by the doctor to determine which types of cells they are.

These are some of the abnormal cells that the doctor will have to explain to the patient:

Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS)

Normally the physical appearance of these cells is flat and thin. These types of cancerous cells usually grow in healthy cervical walls. The Pap test will show that there is the presence of ASCUS cells. However, the Pap test will only detect the presence and growth of abnormal squamous cells and not other precancerous cells. The doctor will be able to do the test again if a liquid-based Pap test is used. This allows the doctor to analyze whether other viruses are present in the sample, including the HPV that will develop into later stages as cancer. The abnormal cells found after a liquid PAP test may not cause any alarm if the cells are not regarded as high-risk viruses.Additionally, the doctor may require further tests if the virus found in the sample is regarded as high risk.

Squamous intraepithelial lesion

If the doctor detects these types of cells in the cervical cell sample, they are precancerous cancer cells present. The sizes, shape, and other characteristics will determine if a precancerous lesion is present if the changes found are low grade. If the doctor detects the presence of these types of cells, it means that they are precancerous and that they will grow into cancer cells in a few years. The precancerous cells may develop into cancer cells if the changes are of high grade. In such instances, the patient will have to undergo further tests to confirm the condition.

Atypical glandular cells

These types of cells tend to grow within the uterus and the cervix openings. Granular cells secrete mucus, and even though their presence is slightly abnormal, it is hard to tell if they are cancerous or not. This calls for further tests to be done to establish the origin and the significance of these cells.

Adenocarcinoma cells or squamous cell cancer

If the doctor detects these cells in the cervical cell sample, it strongly suggests that cancer is present. When there is cancer growing inside granular cells, it is referred to as adenocarcinoma. When cancer cells start to form in the vagina or cervix flat walls, it is known as Squamous cell cancer. The doctor will demand an immediate evaluation if these cells are detected. Colposcopy is a procedure that the doctor will suggest if the Pap test results turn out to be abnormal. The procedure is done to make a close determination of the vagina, cervix, and vulva tissue. A device called a colposcope is used during the procedure. Occasionally, the doctor may suggest that a biopsy test needs to be done. This is done by removing a small tissue sample from the abnormal area. Once this is done, the diagnosis will be confirmed when the samples are taken to the lab for further tests.

How Much Does Pap Smears
Cost In Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles, it will cost you an average of $20 to $50 to get the Pap smears test done. However, there might be a significant price difference if the patient needs any preparatory medical procedures. The test may rise to $600 if Pap smear-related tests have to be done. Your medical insurance should cover the cost of performing the Pap smears, and a comprehensive insurance plan may cover half of your medical bill for this procedure.

Wilmington Urgent Clinic Difference

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Why visit a Wilmington Urgent
Clinic for PAP Smears?

Visiting urgent care clinics is more beneficial compared to local hospital emergency rooms because urgent care clinics deal with time-sensitive medical situations. You will get quick medical attention in the shortest time possible. The only time a patient is allowed in an emergency room is when facing a life-threatening medical condition or situation. If you face a medical problem that requires urgent care and there isn’t any primary care provider around, the best thing to do is visit your local urgent family clinic.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best time to start going for Pap smear testing is when you reach 21 years. If you have normal Pap smears, you only need to go for this test once in two years if you are between the ages of 21 to 25 years. When you clock 30 years, you need to go for both Pap smears and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests. HPV causes cervical cancer.

If you think that a Pap smear test is painful, then you should be relieved to know that you won’t feel any pain when it’s done. You will only feel slight discomfort due to the complexity of collecting cervical cells, and the discomfort will only last for an hour.

You still need a Pap smear test whether you usually have sex or not. The human papillomavirus (HPV), transmitted through sexual intercourse, is the main culprit for cancer-causing cells. But all cervical cancer doesn't originate from HPV, which means that you can get cervical cancer even if you are not sexually active.

It is a common occurrence to bleed after a Pap smear test, and however, symptoms of a concerning condition may occur once you have undergone a Pap smear test. You begin to bleed heavily or cramp after a Pap smear for a week or two.

Any woman can get a Pap smear test whether you engage in frequent sexual activity or not. Pap and HPV are the main tests done to detect the presence of cervical cancer in your reproductive system.

IIf you start bleeding after having a Pap smear test, you need to avoid using tampons or having sex for three days. Bleeding may continue or become heavier if there is additional pressure.

If you end up getting abnormal results from Pap smear results, there is no cause for alarm. As a woman, you are bound to get at least one abnormal Pap smear result in your lifetime. An average of 5% of all Pap smears shows abnormal results. Although not all abnormal results are alarming, it is always good to follow up to rule out the possibility of cervical cancer.

About Wilmington Urgent Clinic

Created with the patient’s well-being in mind, Wilmington Urgent Family Clinic offers high-quality health care services for residents of Wilmington City in California. Our patients are all cared for and treated humanely and compassionately. Wilmington Urgent Family Clinic focuses on making all our patients feel comfortable and relaxed when receiving medical care to allow them to heal correctly and fast.

When visiting Wilmington Urgent Family Clinic services, you don’t need to queue for long hours like hospitals to receive medical attention. All our health care services are extended for long hours to ensure that patients don’t need to wait for long hours to get treatment. The health care services from Wilmington Urgent Family Clinic are delivered based on a walk-in. We immediately cater to all injuries and illnesses in a high-quality and compassionate way. Our complete x-ray services are offered affordably to all area residents, making us the best alternative to hospital emergency rooms that are pretty expensive. Our patients are empowered by the vital information that we provide about cervical health. All clients who want to receive Pap smears can count on Wilmington urgent care clinic for the best high-quality tests and results. You will get prompt and detailed information about your cervical health, and if the results turn out to be positive, immediate follow-ups will be done.

Walk-in urgent care clinics such as the Wilmington urgent care clinic provides convenient physicals whenever you need them. If you want to find us easily, go to the internet and search for a ‘ PAP Smears near me,’ and you will find our website. We have professional and experienced staff who are always ready to offer high-quality camp physicals, school physicals, and sports physicals. If your health care provider doesn’t have time to see you or running a busy schedule, you don’t need to book an appointment with us. Just look for any of our clinics that are located in Southern California.

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No more waiting for long hours in emergency rooms when you have Wilmington Urgent Care. Fix your appointment today and get attended right away.