Pap Smears – What They Are and How They Work

Siloam Springs Women’s Center pic
Siloam Springs Women’s Center
Image: siloamwomenscenter.com

As owner-physician of Siloam Springs Women’s Center in Arkansas, Dr. Chad Hill offers treatment and preventive care for women with a range of gynecological and obstetrical concerns. Dr. Chad Hill offers a range of routine testing, including Pap smears.

The Papanicolau test, more commonly known as the Pap smear, is a common procedure that allows a gynecologist to screen for abnormal cells of the uterine cervix. Such cells can be an early sign of potential or developing cervical cancer, which currently stands as the fourth most common cause of death for women across the world. By using a Pap test to identify abnormal cells before they develop into advanced cancer, a gynecologist can offer early interventions that may be able to halt the progression of disease.

Experts recommend a Pap test for most women between the ages of 21 and 65, regardless of whether the woman is sexually active or has reached menopause. The American Cancer Society recommends that women in their 20s undergo testing every three years, which can extend to every 5 years once the woman has reached the age of 30. According to the officially released recommendations, after the age of 65, a woman may choose to stop having Pap tests if she has had three or more normal tests sequentially and no abnormal results over the course of 10 years.

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Pelvic Exams

Siloam Springs Women’s Center pic
Siloam Springs Women’s Center
Image: siloamwomenscenter.com

Dr. Chad Hill is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Moreover Dr. Chad Hill is the owner of Siloam Springs Women’s Center in Arkansas. He is also an OB/GYN at the center, where he carries out preventative care procedures such as pap smears and pelvic exams.

Once women are 21 years old, pelvic exams (which constitute part of their well-woman visits) become routine. In the lead up to a pelvic exam, a woman should inform the OB/GYN or nurse of any troublesome symptoms such as itching, abnormal discharge, or unusual bleeding to help determine whether an additional test or examination will be needed to identify the underlying condition.

During the pelvic exam, the medical professional examines the woman’s vagina, ovaries, cervix, uterus, and Fallopian tubes. A comprehensive exam involves the following: an external exam, a speculum exam, a bimanual exam, and a rectovaginal exam. On occasion, the pelvic exam incorporates a “pap smear” for cervical cancer screening. This involves the doctor or nurse taking a tiny sample of cells from the cervix and sending it to a lab for testing.