New medical recommendations say that women don't have to get a pap smear as frequently as we thought. Our resident OBGYN, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, weighs in on just how often the test should be administered by your doctor.

Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD
May, 15, 2017

Finally, we're bringing you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, OB/GYN and nationally known women's health expert Dr. Jessica Shepherd wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. As the founder of Her Viewpoint, an online women's health forum, she uses this outlet to focus on addressing taboo topics in a comfortable setting. Prepare to take notes!

Q: How Often Should I Have A Pap Smear?

A: Seeing your gynecologist should be annual. You should see your gynecologist annually for all the other things outside of a pap smear that you need to talk to them about.

When you see your gynecologist for a pap smear, we test for two different things abnormal cells and HPV exposure. If both of those ar negative, there are new recommendations actually that can change how often you have a one administered by your gyno. Women can have a pap smear every other year, three years or five years. 

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If women have any abnormalities, whether it's abnormal cells or HPV exposure that's shown on your pap smear results, than it is always wise to see doctor every year to either have a repeat pap smear or further the exam to have what we call a colposcopy. That's where we look at the cervix with, pretty much like a microscope, and look at it and maybe take a biopsy.     

Outside of that, if your pap smear results are negative meaning that everything is normal, new recommendations say that patients can have one every other year, every three or five years. And if it has any abnormalities, most likely will have to see your doctor for some type of follow up every year but seeing your gynecologist under any circumstance should be at least an annual occurence. 

Throne of String 2013
Joseph Williams

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