Screening: A pap smear is the most recognized screening tool to test for cell abnormalities that can lead to cancer of the cervix — the opening between your vagina and your uterus.
- Vaginal bleeding between periods, after intercourse, or after menopause
- Watery, bloody vaginal discharge; it may have a foul odor
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during intercourse
- HPV, HIV, or Chlamydia infection
- Lowered immune function
- Family history of cervical cancer
- Having more than 3 children
- High number of sexual partners
- First had sex under the age of 18
Speak to your provider to determine how often you will need to have a pap test; but no matter how often your provider recommends you have a pap smear, all women should have an annual pelvic exam to visually monitor the health of your cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Learn more about the Pap test and cervical cancer screening here.