A pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can affect young women, is often without symptoms in its early stages, and is preventable. Currently, pap smears are recommended for all women in age 21 (or 3 years after first sexual contact) until age 69.
Frequency: In the absence of abnormalities, is generally performed yearly for the first 3 years, then every second year. You may require more frequent pap smears if there is a history of abnormal cells.
Timing: Pap smears are best performed when you are between your periods (mid-cycle).
Indication: Couples with difficulty conceiving, women experiencing recurrent miscarriages, following Essure sterilization.
Tests for: Countour of uterine cavity, and whether fallopian tubes are open (patent).
This is a minor procedure performed in the radiology unit of the hospital. Sedation is not required. Your doctor will pass a thin, flexible catheter through the cervix in a sterile fashion. Dye that is opaque on X-ray is then injected into the uterine cavity. Images are then taken by the radiologist. The dye fills the countour of the uterus and the fallopian tubes. Patent tubes will allow for free spillage of dye into the pelvis.
Tests for: Abnormal cells in the lining of the womb; certain forms of uterine cancers or precancerous cells.This is a minor procedure that can be performed in your physician’s office without sedation. A thin, sterile, flexible straw is passed into the womb. Suction is applied to obtain a sample of the lining of the womb (endometrium). The sample is sent to the pathologists to examine.An endometrial biopsy may be recommended for women with bleeding after menopause and/or a thick endometrial lining after menopause, women with abnormal menstrual bleeding, or to investigate some types of abnormal pap smears.
Tests for: Abnormal skin changes on the vulva including precancerous or cancerous cells.
Your colposcopy report may recommend a LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure).
This is a procedure where a small portion of the cervix is removed for dual purposes:
1) Provide a diagnosis (benign, precancerous, or malignant cells on the cervix?)
2) Provide treatment for precancerous cells on the cervix.