How Often To Get a Pap Smear

so why aren't pap smears recommended

every year any longer and how often

should you get yours

I'll answer these questions in today's

video well what's up healthy people I'm

dr. Madge divorce certified family

medicine physician practicing in sunny

San Diego make sure to subscribe for

weekly useful and actionable tough tips

to help care for you and your family in

two minutes or less

you know pap smears were traditionally

performed annually but it's been at

least a decade since the guidelines have

changed but I'll tell ya I still get new

patients in my office once in a while

who come in thinking that they're due

for one every single year now why are

they done less frequently now

maybe if we can answer this question

you'll feel more at ease first of all

our testing technology has improved

we're better at detecting it now than

ever before which makes sense

times are changing we're getting more

tech-savvy here second there's an extra

test that goes along with it to check

for the presence of human papilloma

virus or HPV this is a cause of cervical

cancer which is a virus that is

transmitted sexually yes

cancer of the cervix is caused by an STD

so we use the information from both the

pap smear test and the HPV test for

improved detection and management and

lastly cervical cancer is often slow

growing it often takes years to develop

knowing all of this how often our pap

smear is now recommended well for the

average healthy female we start testing

at age 21 and then every three years

until age 30

then after age 30 we test most women

every five years yes you heard right

five years and we stopped at age 65 now

why do we test so infrequently after age

thirty because cancer of the cervix is

more common in young sexually active

women who may change partners or who

have partners who have changed partners

so women and stable monogamous meaning

only one partner long-term are less at

risk now keep in mind that these are

guidelines for the typical healthy

female without recent abnormal pap

smears other risk factors can actually

change how often your doctor decides to

test you such as how often you change


if you come down with let's say another

STD etc as a side note just because you

may not need a pap smear every year

though doesn't mean that you shouldn't

have a physical annually

it just won't include a pap smear at all

make sure to check out my last video on

what the pap smear procedure really is

and how it's actually performed

especially if you've never had one and

you're about to get your first one now

are you relieved that paps are no longer

done annually or are you uncomfortable

with the change and recommendation after

learning the reasons for the guideline

changes write the word relieved or

uncomfortable in the comments down below

me personally totally relieved pap

smears are no fun now if you found the

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future weekly videos well thanks for

tuning in stay healthy and I'll catch

you next time