Routine wellness visits, including Pap smears, with an experienced OB/GYN are an essential part of women’s healthcare. Dr. Gwen Allen of the Gardena Women’s Center in Gardena, California, has more than 20 years of experience as an OB/GYN. She specializes in all aspects of women’s healthcare, from routine exams and Pap smears to pregnancy and menopause. Call today or schedule an appointment using the online booking system.
Most women over the age of 21 should have yearly gynecological exams and a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer every three years. A Pap smear tests for abnormal, precancerous, or cancerous cells on your cervix (the opening of your uterus). This routine test allows Dr. Allen to monitor any signs of abnormal activity within your uterus.
A Pap smear, or Pap test, is typically done at a routine wellness exam with an OB/GYN. During the procedure, you lie on the examining table with your feet in stirrups so Dr. Allen can insert a speculum into your vagina. A speculum is a tool that allows Dr. Allen to widen the vaginal walls so she can see into your cervix.
She inserts a swab into your cervix to take a sample of the cells, then sends this sample to a lab for review. The Pap test doesn’t hurt or cause long-term pain, but it may be a little uncomfortable.
An abnormal Pap smear indicates abnormal cells, cancer, or precancerous changes in the cells in your cervix. However, if your Pap smear is abnormal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cervical cancer.
Often, changes to cells in your cervix are the result of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Although HPV is linked to cervical cancer, you may simply have an STD that can be successfully treated.
Dr. Allen may recommend additional tests, such as a colposcopy or a biopsy. A colposcopy allows Dr. Allen to see a more close-up view of your cervix, as if under a magnifying glass. During this procedure, she can take samples of any abnormal tissue on your cervix and send them to a lab for a biopsy analysis. A pathologist tests the tissue and the results of the biopsy will determine the next step in your treatment plan.
To schedule a Pap smear and gynecological exam, Dr. Allen invites you to call or make an appointment online.