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Do I Need a Pap Smear?

You come in for your annual exam ready for your breast exam, pelvic exam and Pap smear, only to find out that your provider won't be doing a Pap smear this year. A Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. Most people are used to having Pap smears yearly and are very confused when they have their annual exam and a Pap smear is not done. While Pap smears used to be performed yearly, the guidelines have changed. The guidelines have changed for many reasons, some of which include better and more accurate testing and finding that more frequent Pap smears lead to invasive procedures that are unnecessary, can be painful and could potentially cause pregnancy complications in the future. 

 

There are two components of a Pap smear. The first is looking at the cells from your cervix, called Cytology. The other is HPV (human papilloma virus) testing. Whether you need one or both of these components depends on your age.

 

Here are the guidelines to help you understand why you may not need a Pap smear at your next annual visit.

 

Age

Recommendation

Under 21

No Pap smear needed

21-29

Cytology every 3 years

30-64

Cytology every 3 years -OR-

Cytology with HPV (human papilloma virus) testing every 5 years -OR-

HPV (human papilloma virus) testing every 5 years

65 and over

No Pap smear needed as long as you meet certain criteria

Hysterectomy with removal of cervix

No Pap smear needed as long as your screenings prior to your hysterectomy were normal

 

These guidelines are supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP).

 

These guidelines apply to those who have had normal Pap smears in the past. Please reach out to your healthcare provider if you have questions about when you need your next Pap smear. 


Premier OB-Gyn is accepting new patients in both our Maitland, FL and Oviedo, FL locations. We would be happy to see you! Please call 321-397-1212 or visit www.premierob-gyn.com to book your appointment!

Author
Allison Amore, DO, FACOOG Allison Amore, D.O., F.A.C.O.O.G. is a Board-Certified OB-Gyn physician who joined Premier OB-Gyn in 2018. Dr. Amore is originally from Groveland, Massachusetts, a small town north of Boston. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Davidson College in North Carolina and earned her Master of Science degree from Tufts University in Boston. She received her doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2014. She was elected Chief Resident of the University of Central Florida’s Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Osceola Medical Center. She is a huge Disney fan and can be found exploring Walt Disney World during her time off.

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