PAP test: why is cervical cytology prescribed?
An informative method for diagnosing latent chronic diseases of the cervix uteri is the PAP test (cervical cytology). This laboratory test is widely used by gynecologists, because it helps to accurately determine the structure of cervix uteri cells (cervix), helps prevent and early detection of precancerous diseases.
Not every woman knows about the importance of this examination and is frightened when a gynecologist is going to take a vaginal smear for a PAP test and says why this study is being conducted. However, you should not be afraid, this diagnostic method is recommended annually to all women over 18 years old.
What helps to identify the PAP test and why is it a healthy woman?
For the first time such a variant of laboratory diagnostics was used by the Greek scientist George Papanicolaou for the prevention and early detection of oncological diseases of the gynecological group back in the 50s of the last century, hence the name. Today, the PAP test is used everywhere, as is the more modern ThinPrep (liquid cytology of the cervix). Cervical cancer, which helps to identify in the early stages of this study, ranks third among women’s cancer diseases. It is the regular visits to the gynecologist and the PAP test to find out that everything is in order or, on the contrary, to diagnose precancerous changes in time and successfully cure such a condition.
Indeed, changes in the cervical epithelium and the formation of atypical (precancerous) cells can be caused by the most “harmless” states in the woman’s opinion: vaginal pathogenic microflora, mucosal defects (erosion), viral infections – especially human papillomavirus (HPV), vaginal discharge etc. Often, precancerous and cancerous conditions of the cervix for a long time are asymptomatic. Therefore, it is important for every woman to follow the rule: a visit to a gynecologist and a PAP test at least once a year is an important necessity!
When the gynecologist can prescribe a PAP test further
Cytology of the cervix is performed as a mandatory (additional) screening, if a woman:
Planning a pregnancy
Often gave birth (3-4 times in 4 years in a row)
Often changes sexual partners
Is in the period of menopause
Plans to install intrauterine device
I have never been examined for cytology. I have not done a PAP test for more than 3 years.
Has direct relatives with oncological diseases.
As well as the PAP test is recommended, if the latest study revealed changes in the cervical tissues or inconsistencies with the norms, examination of the cervix with a mirror revealed changes in the mucous membrane.
Who to contact for the PAP test
Cytological examination of the cervix – a mandatory procedure for a comprehensive gynecological examination. That is, when referring to a specialist, he will conduct this diagnosis during an examination on a gynecological chair and take a smear. The procedure is painless, but it can give a woman some discomfort. Modern cervical cytology instruments are sterile and should be used individually for each woman. If it is difficult for you to choose a clinic for passing the PAP test and consulting a gynecologist, then you can ask for free help from our consultants or use the public registry of medical institutions of Ukraine.