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Which test, when, who, and what for? TEST: Pap smear
By Francisco Renick, M.D.

What is it?
It is a gynecology test in which a sample of cells from the cervix (a part of the uterus or womb) is taken with a tiny spatula or small brush.

Why is it done?
In order to rule out the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells in the vagina or cervix. It is also useful in detecting uterine bacterial, viral or yeast infections.

Who should have it done?
Every women 18 years or older and/or who are sexually active. It should also be done in the presence of high-risk behaviors such as multiple sexual partners, in pregnant women and in those with an abnormal menstrual period that occurs with pain, itching or a tingling sensation.

Once per year or as recommended by your physician.

What else should you keep in mind?
Do not douche; use vaginal creams or feminine deodorants 48 to 72 hours before the test since these may alter the results. Do not have sex for 24 hours before the test and, in addition, plan to have it when you are not having your menstrual period or any signs of a vaginal infection.

We will be happy to answer your health-related questions, please send them to: [email protected]

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