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Pap Smear

Timothy Scott Beck, MD -  - Primary Care Physician

Life Point Medical, LLC

Timothy Scott Beck, MD

Primary Care Physician & Internal Medicine located in Clayton, GA

Regular Pap tests detect cervical cancer and other women’s gynecological issues before serious complications arise. At The Women's Center at Life Point Medical, in Clayton, Georgia, Rabun County, Georgia, and Northeast Georgia, Monique Petteys, FNP-C, performs Pap smears to screen for cancer and rule out other medical conditions. Call the office to request an appointment to schedule a Pap smear.

Pap Smear Q & A

What is a Pap smear?

A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a gynecological test to check your cervix (located at the bottom of the uterus) for abnormal cells. Detecting these cells in early stages can prevent cervical cancer, which is why regular Pap screenings are so important.

What causes cervical cancer?

The cause of cervical cancer isn’t entirely clear, but contracting a sexually transmitted disease called human papillomavirus (HPV) may contribute to most cases of cervical cancer.

You might not experience symptoms with cervical cancer, especially during the beginning stages of the disease. However, in more advanced stages, you might notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Watery or bloody discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse
  • Bleeding after menopause or between periods
  • Pelvic pain during intercourse

Regular Pap smears detect cervical cancer before it reaches advanced stages associated with these symptoms.

What should I expect during a women’s wellness exam?

During an annual women’s wellness exam, Monique:

  • Goes over your medical history
  • Records your height and weight
  • Checks your blood pressure
  • Completes a thorough physical examination
  • May order lab or imaging tests if necessary
  • Completes a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer

During a Pap smear, Monique places a speculum into your vagina to collect cells from the outside of your cervix. These cells are sent to a lab for testing. The entire procedure takes just minutes to complete, and causes little to no discomfort in most women.

If the lab detects abnormal cervical cells, you’ll undergo a separate procedure to remove the precancerous cells.

How often should I schedule a Pap smear?

Monique lets you know how often to schedule a Pap smear based on your age, risk factors, and health. She may recommend having the test every 3-5 years after age 20 to screen for cervical cancer. You might be able to stop Pap tests after age 65, depending on your health history, but it’s still important to schedule women’s wellness exams annually.

When you’re due for a women's wellness checkup, call The Women's Center at Life Point Medical today or schedule an appointment online.