This name was given in honor of Dr. Georgios Papanikolaou, a Greek physician born in the early 1900s, who created the test, making it an extremely important tool for the early detection of uterine cancer.
What is the Pap smear?
This test is part of the routine gynecological evaluation, also known as vaginal cytology. Once the abdomen and external genitals have been explored, the doctor introduces a device called a vaginal speculum that allows you to separate the vaginal walls so that you can see the lower part of the uterus, better known as the cervix. Once this process is done, a light scraping is made of the cervix and a cotton swab is inserted through its hole to obtain a sample of the cells that are placed on a slide to be viewed under the microscope. Pap smear
During and after the exam, the woman usually does not feel any discomfort, it is a very quick procedure. To be performed under ideal conditions, it is important not to have a menstrual flow at the time of practice nor to have had sexual intercourse in the previous two or three days.
The Pap smear allows the identification of cervical lesions
The cervix has extensive contact with the outside, making it vulnerable to disorders such as infections that can lead to an inflammation known as cervicitis. In some cases it is also possible to develop malignant lesions such as cancer, which is related to factors such as human papilloma virus infection, especially when sexual activity begins at an early age.
Once the sample is taken, it is possible to know if there is any type of infection, in the same way that the presence of malignant cells can be identified, even if there are no lesions visible to the naked eye, so its use allows an early diagnosis, increasing the probability that the patient can be treated in time and cured.
How often should a Pap smear be performed?
There are conditions in which it is necessary to perform the examination with a shorter time interval, especially when there is infection with the human papilloma virus being treated, as well as in patients with a history of cervical cancer.
Virgin women can also perform the Pap smear, in this case a small speculum is used that is introduced through the orifice that normally has a hymen, not causing any type of damage to this membrane.
Women undergoing hysterectomy can be evaluated by taking a sample from the vaginal vault, however, as they no longer have a uterus, they no longer run the risk of malignant lesions that can be identified by Pap smears and which do not usually perform the sample analysis for that exam. Pap smear