An annual wellness visit is a very important aspect of maintaining your health. Even if your doctor determines that you do not need a yearly pap smear, pelvic exams to check for uterine and ovarian pathology as well as clinical breast exams are recommended every year.
A Pap smear is a test performed by an OB/GYN to check for abnormalities in cervical cells. Typically conducted during a routine gynecological exam, a Pap test involves a physician inserting a speculum into the vagina to open it and swabbing a small sample of cells from the cervix. These cells collected from a Pap smear can also be tested for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and other diseases.
A normal Pap test result, or a negative result, indicates overall cervical health. Conversely, an abnormal result from this test can indicate many things: inflammation, infection, or the possibility of cervical dysplasia. Depending on the situation, a physician might recommend additional testing to determine the cause of the abnormal result.