A pap smear tests for the presence of any abnormal cells in a woman’s cervix. The test is also used to identify vaginal inflammation and infections. But it is predominantly used for the screening of cervical cancer which occurs mostly in women who are more than 30 years old.
A pap test and a human papillomavirus (HPV) test are not the same. The best gynaecologist in Hyderabad can tell you how often you should have one of these tests or a combination of both. Usually, no tests are needed below 21 years of age. You should have a pap smear every 3 years between 21 and 29. Between 30 and 65, you must have an HPV every 5 years, a pap smear every 3 years or both together every 5 years. You don’t need these tests after turning 66.
Since a pap smear test is done mainly to determine the presence of cervical cancer in women, someone having symptoms indicative of cancer should go for the test right away. Here are 5 such signs which should prompt you to receive a pap smear at a gynaecology clinic without delay.
1. Vaginal Bleeding Without Being on Your Period
In most cases, this is the very first sign of cervical cancer. At an advanced stage of cancer, vaginal bleeding can be serious. Sudden bleeding can happen at any time when your normal menses are not expected. It can even occur after you have intercourse.
Nevertheless, bleeding after sexual intercourse can also be a result of cervical ectropion or erosion. However, if bleeding is accompanied by pain, it might be associated with cervical cancer. Having a pap test can clarify everything.
2. Heavy Periods
In some cases of cervical cancer, unexpected vaginal bleeding can also take place in the form of periods that are heavier than usual. Post-menopausal bleeding can also happen. In these cases, it is best to see the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad to get to the bottom of things.
3. Unusual Vaginal Discharge (Often Smelling Foul)
With cervical cancer, a brown or pink vaginal discharge might be noticed with a foul odour. At times, it can be seen with chunks of necrotic material or tissue due to infected tumours which cause the foul smell. In this case, too, opt for a pap test as soon as possible.
4. Pelvic Pain
In the early stages of cervical cancer, you may not feel pain in any organs. However, as it progresses to nearby tissues and organs, it might spread to your pelvis. This can lead to pelvic pain in which case you must receive a pap test without ado.
5. Pain When Urinating
In an advanced stage, cervical cancer can metastasise to nearby tissues and organs. This is when you may experience difficulty or pain during urination. Again, in this case, it is good to get a pap smear.
In any of the above scenarios, consider visiting the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad right away. This is because cancer can be best treated if detected in its early stages.