Find out when you should start getting regular Pap smears and why this test is important to your health.
While no woman is excited to visit their OBGYN for their annual appointment it is vitally important to any woman’s reproductive health. These visits can help us detect potential or early problems so that we can treat them right away. We are here to let you know why a Pap smear is an important test that every woman should get and when you should start getting one.
Once your daughter becomes a teenager it’s time to consider a trip to the gynecologist. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology advise young women to visit their OBGYN for the first time between 13 to 15 years old. While it may seem a bit young to visit the gynecologist, this first exam will be pretty brief. Besides an external examination to make sure everything is healthy, this is also a great time to establish rapport between your teenage daughter and their gynecologist. After the first visit, it’s recommended that you continue to come in once a year.
Especially during your teen years, a lot of changes are happening and it can be important to have a doctor that you can turn to when your teen has questions or concerns. These visits can be a great time to talk about contraception, managing menstrual symptoms or even changes happening to the body. It’s also never too early to start talking about sexually transmitted diseases and ways to prevent pregnancy.
Of course, when it comes to getting an internal examination and a Pap smear the standard age for a healthy woman is 21 years old. These tests are then performed about every three to five years (if results come back negative). During a Pap smear, cells are scraped from the cervix and tested to check for any changes that could warn of cancerous or precancerous cells. In some cases, your gynecologist may also recommend getting the HPV vaccine to protect against genital warts and some forms of cervical cancer.
Do you have questions about getting a Pap smear? Need to schedule your next appointment? No problem. Call your gynecologist, Dr. Carolyn K. Riley in Dallas, TX, today.