Skip to content

    Women's Health

    Select An Article

    The Pelvic Exam

    (continued)
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    What Tests Are Taken During the Pelvic Exam?

    A sample of cells may be taken as part of regular test called a Pap smear, or Pap test, to screen for cervical cancer or cells that look like they might lead to cancer. The sample is placed in a solution and sent to a lab where it is examined. Tests also may be taken to screen for sexually transmitted diseases.

    How Often Should I Get a Pelvic Exam?

    A Pap smear is recommended starting when women reach 21 years of age. Women ages 21-65 should have routine screening with Pap test every three years.

    Combining a Pap test with a human papillomavirus ( HPV ) test can safely extend the interval between cervical cancer screenings from three years to five years in many women between the ages of 30-65, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

    Also according to USPSTF guidelines, HPV testing is not recommended for women in their 20s, because people in that age group can have HPV infections that resolve without treatment.

    Women over age 65 can stop getting screened if they’ve had at least three consecutive negative Pap tests or at least two negative HPV tests within the previous 10 years, according to the guidelines. But women who have a history of a more advanced precancer diagnosis should continue to be screened for at least 20 years.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH on September 18, 2014
    1 | 2
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    hands on abdomen
    Test your knowledge.
    womans hand on abdomen
    Are you ready for baby?
     
    birth control pills
    Learn about your options.
    insomnia
    Is it menopause or something else?
     
    woman in bathtub
    Slideshow
    period
    VIDEO
     
    bp app on smartwatch and phone
    Slideshow
    estrogen gene
    Quiz
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Blood pressure check
    Slideshow
    hot water bottle on stomach
    Quiz
     
    question
    Assessment
    Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror
    Quiz