Post # 46
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
I get it done every 3 years based on my doctor’s recommendation. I’m 26, had the same partner for almost 10 years, have never had an irregular screening, and am in overall good health. As my doctor put it, I’m in the same risk bracket as a nun…
Post # 47
I was intitially told every 3 years, then I had an abnormal pap so I had to go yearly, then after 2 normal paps they said I could go back to every 3 years. So right now I’m at every 3 years.
And I wouldnt be offended or upset that your Dr did an STI test. Its something EVERYONE should do before they stop using condoms. With so many STI’s that are asymtomatic, a lot of people are walking around with them that dont even know it.
Post # 48
I go yearly, although that will change now. I had many abnormal paps and my cervix never healed. That, on top of heavy periods, and I got a hysterectomy. Problem solved! I have 2 kids and my fiance has 1, so we are fine not having children together. But I woke up from surgery and cried for a while about “losing my womanhood.” I don’t remember it, but apparently it was pretty funny. Anyway, back to your original question, you should get a pap every year. And yes, you should get tested for STIs regularly as well. It is your health to take charge of. I get so upset with middle aged white men running healthcare and they just don’t seem to care about womens health a whole lot. Moving paps from yearly to every 3 years, pushing the age for your first mammogram, insurance not paying for the simple blood test that can detect breast cancer, I can go on. But yet, the men get their Public Service Announcement test done yearly and it shows more false positives than anything. Grinds my nerves!
Post # 49
Ok I have to say something regarding these doubts regarding changing preventive health guidelines. I won’t argue that too many social/political issues in the US are at the mercy of white middle aged men. I’m not happy about that either. But what a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that these guidelines are changed based on evidence based practice. Do you (general you) know how many clinical trials and clinical research needs to be done before the standard operating procedures of health care are changed? And after a change is approved, guess how long it takes to be fully implemented by the medical community as a whole? 10-20 years. Do you know how many lawsuits we would be risking if research was not so stringent? Modern medicine would be a sorry (and dangerous) state if we continued to operate based on the status quo and ignore evidence-based practice. So irrespective of the current political climate of the United States, rest assured that your health care providers didn’t just pull these changes out of their butts one afternoon, these have been decades in the making, and they actually have your best interests at heart.
The reason that routine (not abnormal) paps have been moved to every 3 years in women in their 20s is because most immunocompetent young women with HPV spontaneously clear the infection within 6 months to 2 years, and that HPV infection only progresses to cervical cancer after persistent infection over many years. Additionally, incidence of cervical cancer in young women is extremely low. Also, the ASCUS result (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance) which is the most common abnormal result in women, is not always a result of HPV, and HPV is only positive about 40-50% of the time in these women- and most spontaneously clear. In other cases it can be caused by transient inflammation or infection. If you get a more serious result such as ASC-H, LSIL, HSIL, ACG etc, those are definitely taken a lot more seriously and are always colposcopied right away.
However, I will say that I highly respect when a patient is proactive about their preventive health. If they still request a yearly pap after all the information is given, or if a woman still wants to keep doing paps after age 65, I’ll do it. Because it’s their body and peace of mind to live with. If it’s not covered by insurance (and most still cover yearly paps), I give them the option to pay out of pocket. Insurance is a pain in the ass and a mess currently, but that’s a whole different topic. Anyway, off my soapbox now!
Edit: Oh. And regarding Public Service Announcement screenings, recommendations are actually every 2 years now as long as the Public Service Announcement level is under 2.8. If over 2.8, they go back to every year. If it’s between 4-10, there is a lot of overlap with benign prostatic hypertrophy (the “false positive”) but on the other hand, there are about 40-50% of men with prostate cancer who have a normal Public Service Announcement level. So no, screening frequency does not have to do with middle aged white men in this case. 😉
Post # 50
hollysmith92: Glad you figured out what test that was! How old were you when you had the test done? Routine screening of chlamydia is recommended in all sexually active women under 24, and in older high risk women.
Post # 51
I go once a year and happy I did…
Post # 52
bread_n_brie: I would have been 21, so that explains it!
Post # 53
hollysmith92: I get a pap every year. However, I have HPV and have come back with additional abnormal cells on my pap the past 3 years, all of which turned out to be nothing (after colposcopy). However, my doctor suggests yearly paps for all of his patients, regardless of any abnormalities.
Post # 54
Also, I should mention that I have tested positive for HPV every year since 2010 (4 paps). It’s a bit worrisome that my body hasn’t cleared it up in the typical 6 months – 2 year timeframe, but we are keeping an eye on it (I am 26).
Post # 55
- Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI
I had one every year until last year, my doctor didn’t do one then and said I can go every three years now. I’m 30 years old.
However, I still see my doctor annually for a check up and to get my prescriptions refilled.
Post # 56
- Wedding: October 2015 - Drury Lane Oakbrook
hollysmith92: PLEASE get one every year.
I’m a Cervical Cancer survivor. I had normal paps for a long time so my doctor switched me to getting them every three years. Well, one one of them, cancer cells were found. The infection that caused it could have been caught much earlier if I had them done every year. I am lucky enough that I did not have to have a hysterectomy, but many women are not as lucky.
In my case, it was caused by HPV. Yes HPV is an STD but men can be natural carriers of it and never know it. I somehow caught it from my then-boyfriend even though we had been together for 6 years. If HPV is detected early on a pap it is treatable, but if you wait to long it can become cancer. Yes, HPV most often spontaneously goes away on its own, but some more persistent strains don’t always go away.
So, yes, it is an inconvenience and it’s uncomfortable, but I can tell you that cone biopsies, cryosurgery, and chemo are MUCH more painful. Don’t risk it. It’s only once a year.