Pap Smear Recommendations

Pap Smear Recommendations

by | October 16th, 2018

What women need to know about the current Pap smear recommendations

What women need to know about the current Pap smear recommendationsFor many years, women have become accustomed to having a yearly Pap smear, but the new Pap smear recommendations that our Austin obgyns follow do not call for annual screening. Our physicians follow the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines for cervical cancer screening.

Why did the Pap smear recommendations change?

In recent years, researchers and physicians have learned more about the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer, leading to new Pap smear recommendations. This information has led to co-testing, meaning our Austin obgyns perform both an HPV screening and Pap smear in women ages 31 to 65. The interval between Pap smears changed because studies found that annual testing led to more false positive results and additional procedures, such as biopsies. In addition, cervical cancer starts as precancerous cells that grow slowly, and the new intervals still allow physicians to detect cancer in its early, most treatable stages.

What are the screening recommendations for average-risk women?

Below, our Austin obgyns outline the Pap smear recommendations that apply to most women.

  • Ages under 21 years do not need cervical cancer screening.
  • Ages 21 to 29 years have a Pap smear only every one to three years.
  • Ages 30 to 65 years should have co-testing, meaning a Pap smear and an HPV test, every three to five years.
  • Ages 65 and older do not need screening tests.

Even women who have had the HPV vaccine need to follow these Pap smear recommendations. Women who have had a hysterectomy where their cervix wasn’t removed also need screening.

Which women are the exceptions to these guidelines?

There are exceptions to current Pap smear guidelines. For example, women exposed to DES, or diethylstilbestrol, need to have cervical cancer screening more frequently. Women who have had a hysterectomy and had their cervix removed still need to have screening tests for 20 years after the surgery if they have a history of moderate to severe cervical changes or cervical cancer. If they have no history of problems, they do not need to be screened. Our Austin obgyns advise and treat each individual patient.

Our physicians dedicate themselves to preventing and treating cervical cancer. Following current Pap smear recommendations is an important step. Contact us for an appointment.

| Annual Wellness Gynecology Women Partners in Health


Five board certified Obstetrician/Gynecologists, a certified Nurse Midwife, a Nurse Practitioner offering women's health care services. (Austin, TX)

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