You can make an appointment with one of our doctors to have a Pap test and pelvic exam. A Pap test (also called a Pap smear) is when the doctor collects a sample of cells from your cervix (lower, narrow end of your uterus) and sends them off to a lab to be checked for cancer or for abnormal cells that may lead to cancer. This test can also be used to check for yeast or trichinous. It does not test for STIs or bacterial vaginosis. During a Pap test, an instrument called a speculum is used to widen the vagina so that the upper portion of the vagina and the cervix can be seen. While it may be a little uncomfortable, a Pap test usually does not hurt and does not take long to do.
In a pelvic exam, the doctor will insert two gloved fingers into your vagina while they put their other hand on your lower abdomen. They’ll press different spots to feel the uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and rectum to make sure there are no abnormalities in shape or size.
A Pap test is not the same thing as an STI check. When you are booking your appointment, you should be clear if you want just a Pap, just an STI test, or if you want both a Pap + STI check. Typically, we do STI checks with all Paps, but you can always have just one of these tests if you’d prefer.
We recommend that all persons with a vagina, who are sexually active, get a Pap test and pelvic exam every three years, unless otherwise specified by one of our doctors. Pap tests used to be recommended once a year and referred to as “annuals” (an appointment including a Pap test, a pelvic exam, and swabs for chlamydia and gonorrhea), however this has changed. When you call to book the appointment, you can still say that you want an “annual” and our staff will know what you mean. If you are not sexually active, we recommend that you start having regular Pap tests and pelvic exams after the age of 21.
It takes 6-8 weeks for the results from your Pap test to come back to our clinic. It only takes 1 to 2 weeks for the results from the STI check to come back. If anything is wrong, we will call you. No news is good news! Therefore, it is very important that we have your correct contact information on file. We recommend that you check with our receptionist each visit to make sure we have your most up-to-date contact information. We do not give results over the phone, so clients must make an appointment to come in and get their results from the doctor in-person.
In a breast exam, the doctor will ask you to remove your bra (if you are wearing one), and while you are lying on the table, they will lightly press on different areas of your breasts with a gloved hand to feel for unusual lumps. If you are unfamiliar with how to do a self-breast exam, please ask the doctor and they can show you how to do it properly.