Is a Yearly Pelvic Exam or Pap Smear Still Necessary?

pelvic exam boca raton flWomen no longer need to dread their annual pelvic exam! According to the American College of Physicians, a pelvic exam and a pap smear aren’t necessary to have every year. So what changed and is this the safest decision for women?

What Does a Pap Smear Test?

To better understand why it’s not necessary to have an annual pap smear, it’s important to know exactly what the doctor is looking for during the exam. A pap test checks the cervix, the lower part of the uterus, for abnormal cell changes. Cells can change and, if they aren’t detected and treated, it can lead to cervical cancer.

Why Aren’t Annual Pelvic Exams or Pap Smears Required Anymore?

If pap smears can help detect cancer, why are physicians finding that they aren’t necessary to have annually? Here are a few reasons annual pelvic exams and pap smears aren’t required every year:

There are too many false positives – Frequent screening leads to more frequent need for follow up tests that can be invasive and have unwanted side effects, including problems related to future pregnancies and delivery, as well as increased anxiety and time away from work or home.
Screening every three years is perfectly safe – Studies show that screening every three years is adequate for early detection.
Women are getting pap smears too young – Women under the age of 21 shouldn’t be getting a pap smear because it increases the odds of false positives even more. At the age of 21, women should get their first pap smear and talk to their physician about what they suggest about pelvic exams in the future.

New Recommendations for Pap Smears in Boca Raton, FL

Here are the recommendations for women who are at an average risk for cervical cancer:

  • Under the age of 21: No pap smear necessary
  • 21 to 29: Pap smear required once every three years
  • 30 to 65: Pap smear required every three years or a combination of a Pap smear and HPV test every five years.
  • More than 65: No pap smear necessary if all recent screenings have been normal

Please note that it’s still important to see your OBGYN more than once every three years for proper preventive care and for questions about women’s health.

Call our office at (561) 368-3775 to schedule your pap smear or pelvic exam today in our Boca Raton office.

Your Safety and Well-being is our Priority

On behalf of all of us at Women’s Health Partners, in these difficult times, we want to thank you for your support and confidence in our practice.

We want you to personally know that our patients’ health and well-being has and always will be our number one priority. This reminder bears repeating in the face of any challenges and especially now, given concerns posed by the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We are taking all necessary precautions to ensure your safety and well-being and that of our staff. To that end, we want to share some of the steps we are taking:

Furthermore, our staff will be asking several screening questions regarding your health. We ask that you do not enter our office if you, or someone in your family, or someone you recently were in contact with, has exhibited flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, severe muscle aches, shaking chills, or recent loss of taste or smell, or recently diagnosed with COVID19.

In order to help us participate with our social distancing effort, we are asking patients to enter the office without any visitors, including children.

You will also have the option of waiting in your car instead of the waiting room after you have checked in. The front desk staff will call your cell phone when we are ready for you to come in for your visit.

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