Dr. Hood and his staff are here to help guide you through the changing care your body requires over the course of your life (from puberty to menopause and beyond). We offer regular exams, including breast exams and Pap smears, and family planning advice and prescriptions, as well as many other services. If you’d like to know more about our gynecological services, please contact us.
Usually included in your Wellness or Annual Exam, pap smears detect very early signs of abnormal cervical changes that can sometimes lead to cancer. This early screening test really does save lives. Before Pap smears were developed, cervical cancer was common and often fatal for women. Now, cervical cancer is fairly rare in women who are regularly tested, and is easily treated if found early.
When do I need a Pap Smear? Pap smears should begin at the age of 21 years of age regardless of when sexual activity began. However, if sexual activity began at a very young age, or if other risk factors are present, your Pap smears may begin early.
How often do I need a Pap smear? From age 21-30, yearly Pap smears are still recommended. If you are 30 years or older, Pap smears can be spaced out to every three years, IF your Pap smear and High-risk HPV test are negative. However, Annual Wellness visits are still required to screen for other diseases such as breast or ovarian cancer.
When can I stop having a Pap Smear? Age 70, or if you have had a hysterectomy, and have no history of abnormal Pap smears.
How to prepare for your Pap Smear:
- Schedule the annual exam approximately two weeks after the onset of your last period.
- Avoid intercourse for two days prior to the exam.
- Don’t douche, use tampons, vaginal creams, medications, suppositories, feminine hygiene products or vaginal contraception for two to three days prior to the exam.
- Tell Dr. Hood or his staff (1) the date that your last period started, (2) if you have a history of abnormal Pap smears, and/or (3) if you have any current problems with abnormal discharge, vaginal itching or irritation, or bleeding at times other than your normal menstrual cycle.
Be sure to schedule an exam soon if you are at risk for abnormal Pap smears:
- If you were sexually active before the age of 14.
- If you have had several sexual partners.
- If you smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke. (Nicotine is concentrated in cervical secretions and suppresses cell immunity. This doubles the risk of cancer.)
- If you have HIV or HPV (human papilloma virus).
- If you frequently get sexually transmitted infections.
- • If your mother took DES, a medication used in the 1940s to the 1950s to treat some pregnancy complications.
Other Common Women’s Health Issues
- Pelvic Pain
- Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (Fibroids are the number one cause)
- Heavy periods
- Painful periods
- Ovarian Cysts
- Family Planning / Contraception
- Vaginal Discharge and Itching
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Vulvar or Vaginal Masses
- Urinary Incontinence
- Bowel Incontinence
- Vaginal Relaxation
- Cystocele – Bladder drops
- Rectocele – Rectum pushes up on the vagina
- Enterocele – Pocket of loops of bowel within the vagina
- Uterine/Vaginal Cuff prolapse – Uterus pushes down on the top of the vagina, or after a hysterectomy, the vaginal cuff fall downward into the vagina.