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What is a Pap Smear?

What is a Pap Smear?


You might be preparing for your first gynecologic visit and wondering what you have just signed up for. Or you might have had numerous Pap smears but are still uncertain exactly what it means. 

A Pap smear, or a Papanicolauo test, is a screening tool used to help detect precancer or cancer of the cervix. Detecting these changes early allows for treatment before the cells turn into cancer. With the same sample, it is possible to detect the presence of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), and other sexually transmitted diseases.

How is the test done?

The provider uses a speculum and inserts it into your vagina. This helps them see your cervix. Your cervix is located at the back of your vagina. Your experience should not be painful. Your job is to keep those pelvic muscles relaxed (easier said than done!) which will help with the exam.

What happens if my Pap smear is abnormal?

Your Pap smear may come back as abnormal for many reasons. What we do about it depends on what exactly the results show and your age. Sometimes all that needs to be done is repeating a Pap smear a little earlier than what you might need otherwise. You might also need some more diagnostic workup, including a colposcopy. A colposcopy is an in-office procedure that allows the provider to get a better look at your cervical cells and take biopsies if needed. If your Pap smear comes back as abnormal, we will let you know exactly what needs to be done and will be available to answer any questions.

How often do I need a Pap smear?

This is also dependent on age and your history. Routine screening exams are suggested yearly; however, we might not need to take the sample every year. The Pap smear can be done every 3-5 years in some circumstances. Again, it is important to continue to follow up yearly for your exams when your provider can determine if you need a Pap smear that year or not.


Take Charge of Your Health

Do you have questions about the Pap smear? All of us at Premier OB-Gyn are happy to answer your questions and help make you feel as comfortable as possible. Book your appointment today!


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 to book your appointment.


Amanda Murphy, PA-C Amanda Murphy, PA-C Amanda Murphy, PA-C is a board-certified Physician Assistant at Premier OB-Gyn with offices in Maitland and Oviedo, Florida. Amanda was born and raised in Palm Harbor, Florida. She attended Florida State University and obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry. Amanda’s brother received a life-saving heart and double lung transplant, which shaped Amanda’s goals for her future. She attended the University of Texas Medical Branch and obtained her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Amanda was the president of her class and involved in several organizations on campus. Amanda practiced Pulmonary Critical Care for nearly three years where she gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. She always had a passion for Women’s Health and started working in OB/Gyn, and completely fell in love with providing care for women. She enjoys delivering care to women of all ages and stages of life. She and her husband, Brendan, have two beautiful little girls named Abigail and Paige.

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