Getting a Pap test means that a woman’s cervix is being screened to check any kind of abnormal change in the cells. You might come across the terms such as cervical dysplasia, abnormal or precancerous cells changes, CIN (Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia), SIL (Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions) and warts on the cervix. They all mean that some kind of abnormalities was found as a result of the test. Such abnormalities are mostly due to Human Papillomavirus (HPV). However, such terms do not mean that the woman has cervical cancer.
The doctor would often observe the cervix and may suggest for a treatment so that the cells do not change into cancerous forms.
- During a Pap test, the sample of cervical cells is collected in a lab.
- 90% of the Pap test results are said to be normal. In case of an abnormal result, more tests would be suggested.
- To ensure the accuracy of Pap test result, avoid sexual intercourse for at least two to three days prior to the test. Avoid the usage of tampons, birth control foams, vaginal medicines, creams or powders.
- The most favourable time for the test is considered to be five days after the menstrual period.
During the test, a device called speculum is inserted in the opening of vagina. It allows the view of cervix and upper vagina. The doctor then uses a brush-spatula kind of device to collect the cells. The device is rotated in the endocervix and the ectocervix areas to collect squamous and glandular cells. The cells collected are evaluated under a microscope in the lab. You may get a small amount of vaginal bleeding post the test, which is normal. You will able to do all your regular activities. In case of excessive bleeding, consult your doctor.
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