Process for Your Well Woman Exam
Pap Test Process
Your health care provider will perform a pelvic exam using an instrument called a speculum to examine your vagina and cervix. During this examination, a few cells will be collected directly from your cervix and the surrounding area, and then sent to a lab for further evaluation.
Frequency of Pap Tests
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that sexually active females younger than age 21 be counseled and tested for sexually transmitted infections, and be counseled regarding safe sex and contraception. The Pap test is not recommended for those younger than 21 (and not sexually active) because it may lead to unnecessary evaluation and treatment in women at very low risk of cancer. Women age 21 should start getting regular Pap tests no fewer than every three years or as directed by their primary care physician.
Screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections
During the exam, your cervix and vaginal tissue will be examined for any abnormal discharge or bumps. All sexually active women are encouraged to be screened for STIs if they have had a new sexual partner since their last exam or are not in a mutually monogamous sexual relationship.
STI screening is simple and consists of taking a small amount of cervical discharge with a swab, or through urine testing.