Why Do I Need a Pap Smear?

The mere thought of a Pap smear is enough to make many women shudder. No one likes the thought of baring it all for anyone to see ― even a doctor ― or being poked and prodded. Truthfully, though, Pap smears aren’t as awful as they’re made out to be, and they serve a very important purpose: They help keep you and your reproductive organs safe. 

Mark P. Schumacher, MD, an expert OB/GYN in Reno, Nevada, encourages all women to keep up with their regularly scheduled Pap smears, which is every three years for healthy women. If you’re not sure why you need Pap smears, keep reading to learn why these exams are important to your health. 

What’s a Pap smear? 

A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is an exam that checks the health of female reproductive organs, particularly to check for cervical cancer and human Papillomavirus (HPV). During a Pap smear, Dr. Schumacher uses a tool called a speculum to take a sample of cells from your cervix. This is called a biopsy. 

Dr. Schumacher then sends the sample to a lab to get the cells analyzed for abnormalities. He then calls you with your results and helps you through any necessary follow-ups should your results come back abnormal. 

Why do I need a Pap smear? 

All women need Pap smears to check the general health of their cervix, but to get more specific, you need a Pap smear to: 

Sometimes, Pap smears are done in conjunction with complete pelvic exams, which are necessary to: 

How often do I need a Pap smear? 

The current recommendation for most adult women is to get a Pap smear every three years. The recommendation used to be every year, but doctors and researchers have since discovered that there’s no need for an annual Pap smear as long as you are generally healthy. 

Some women need Pap smears more often, including women who

If you’re older than age 65, you may not need to have any more Pap smears. Talk with Dr. Schumacher about the frequency of your Pap smears if you think something should change. 

To schedule a Pap smear or learn more about them, book an appointment over the phone with Mark P. Schumacher, MD, today.

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