Pap Smear

Women's Health Care Center, PLLC

Obstetrics & Gynecology located in Helena, MT

A Pap smear is an integral and valuable part of your preventive health care. At Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC, in Helena, Montana, the empathic OB/GYNs provide Pap smears and a number of effective women’s health services to protect your reproductive health. A Pap smear can reveal any abnormalities or indications of cancer or other gynecological conditions. To schedule your Pap smear, call Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC, or click to book via the online scheduler.

Pap Smear Q & A

What is a Pap smear?

A Pap smear is a preventive care measure designed to detect cervical cell abnormalities and cervical cancer. During a Pap smear, your Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC, provider collects cells from your cervix for analysis.

You should get a Pap test every three years if you’re between the ages of 21 and 65. If you have a higher risk of getting cervical cancer or have certain underlying medical conditions, you might require more frequent testing.

Your provider can also perform a test for human papillomavirus (HPV) at the same time as your Pap smear. Some types of HPV lead to genital warts and cancer.

What can I expect at my Pap smear?

Pap smears are quickly and conveniently performed in the office. Typically, you undress and wear a medical gown. You lie on a special exam table with your feet in stirrups and your knees bent. 

When you’re ready and comfortable, your provider gently inserts a speculum into your vagina to hold open your vaginal walls and view your cervix. This is over quickly and it shouldn’t hurt, but it might be somewhat uncomfortable.

Your provider uses a soft, small brush or a special scraping tool to take a sample of your cervical cells. The sample is sent to a lab to be analyzed for any abnormalities or signs of cancer or precancer.

What if I have abnormal results from my Pap smear?

If you have abnormal Pap smear results, your provider might suggest a colposcopy. During a colposcopy, your provider uses a special magnifying instrument to more closely evaluate your cervix.

 Your provider might suggest a colposcopy if you have any concerns about pelvic pain or abnormal pelvic bleeding. A colposcopy is used to evaluate: 

  • Polyps or noncancerous growths on the cervix
  • Genital warts on the cervix
  • Inflammation of the cervix

If there are abnormal cells during your colposcopy, your Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC, provider might recommend a procedure to remove the abnormal cells or other treatments.

What are the benefits of a Pap smear?

Pap smears are safe, effective, convenient, and provide an array of benefits. They are a valuable part of your preventive health care and can help you to protect and take care of your reproductive system.

Some precancerous, cancerous, and abnormal cells don’t come with any symptoms and might go unnoticed if you don’t have a Pap smear. 

If you’re due for your Pap smear, take charge of your reproductive health and call Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC, or click to schedule an appointment online today.