Recently, the guidelines for when you need to get a well woman exam and what it should entail have changed considerably. The goal of these changes is to require women to undergo the process of a pap smear too frequently, while still allowing for detection of HPV and cervical cancer. Now that the rules have changed and you don’t have to get a pap every year, you need to know what to schedule and when. Here are the basics of the new guidelines.
You Still Need an Exam Every Year
While you no longer have to get a pap smear every year, you do still need to have a well woman exam every year. During this well woman visit your doctor will give you a pelvic exam and breast exam. Insurance covers these well woman check ups with no copay, so there really is no reason not to get this done. If your doctor thinks it is warranted, a mammogram or pap smear might be requested.
When to Get a Pap Smear
You no longer need to get a pap smear every year unless your doctor suspects that something might be wrong. You may also need to have a pap smear more frequently if you have a history of cervical cancer or HPV. As a general rule, most women do not need to get a pap smear more than once every three years. Women who are aged 30 to 65 should have an HPV test every 5 years, a pap test every 3 years, or a combination of the 2 every 5 years.
If you haven’t had your well woman exam this year, or if it has been more than three years since your last pap smear, you should not put off this important healthcare matter. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.