PAP Smear: What You Need to Know

This post is sponsored by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center

PAP SmearAs a certified nurse midwife with MercyOne Des Moines Midwives, I frequently get questions from women about when to get a PAP smear. Ladies, don’t feel bad. It’s easy to get confused (and honestly, so do most providers)!

Providers like certified nurse midwives would like to see women all the way from the start of their very first period to beyond their last period. Because we’re all busy, we may forget from time to time when we had our last gynecology visit.

We are even more confused with news from sources all over the internet: the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP), the National Institutes of Health, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NBC News and even the AARP! It looks like alphabet soup! Let’s keep it simple everyone!

Current PAP Smear Guidelines

The following guidelines are ONLY for women who are considered low-risk for cervical cancer. If you don’t know your risks, please talk with your provider.

  • Women under 21 years of age do not need to get a yearly PAP test.
  • Women ages 21-30 should get a PAP test every three years.
  • Women ages 30-65 should get a PAP test every three years or every five years if an HPV screen is added.
  • Women older than 65 will receive a PAP test based on their risk factors, so ask your provider.

Really, bottom line, if you don’t understand or are unsure, ask your provider, OR better yet, just keep going in for a yearly exam so other screens can be done in a timely manner.

Other screens women should have include blood pressure check, breast exam and/or mammogram, depression screen, skin cancer exam, cholesterol screen, colon-rectal cancer screen, and a check of all the other women parts we can’t see.

PAP Smears Midwife

Visit MercyOne Des Moines Midwives for Women’s Health Services

I would like to invite you to check out the services provided at MercyOne Des Moines Midwives. We have offices in downtown Des Moines, Ankeny, and Grimes. ALL of our providers are women – who better to take care of a woman’s needs than women? Certified nurse midwives can do more than deliver a baby, and we enjoy giving personalized care to our patients. We make it convenient, plus we understand what it means to be “with women.” 

If you have questions or would like to receive copies of any of the articles I mentioned, feel free to contact me at the email below.

About the Author

Pam Jach, CNMPam Jach, ARNP, CNM, is a new midwife provider at MercyOne Des Moines Midwives. To schedule an appointment, please call 15-643-6869. For questions about her article, please email [email protected].

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The post is part of a series of sponsored posts by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center

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