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PAP Smear Test

Pap Smear Test (Cervical Screening)

At Gynaecology Clinic in Harley Street, London, we have a team of highly experienced doctors who perform the Pap Smear, otherwise known as Cervical Smear or simply the smear test, in a comfortable and relaxed environment. The results will be sent to you by a letter within 2 weeks.

A smear test or PAP test is also called cervical screening. A smear test detects for sudden changes in the cells of your cervix that might develop into cervical cancer, when left untreated. Read on to find out a bit more about cervical screening:

  • Cervical screening is a test to check health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to the womb from the vagina.
  • This test helps to detect abnormal cells which may develop into cancer.
  • All women and people with a cervix in the age group of 25 to 64 years should undergo routine screening.
  • During the appointment, a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix.
  • The sample is then sent to the laboratory for testing where any abnormalities will be highlighted.
  • Detecting abnormal changes early means they can be assessed or treated much earlier, reducing the risk that they develop into cervical cancer.
  • You will be given the results as a written report, and our doctor will happily arrange a follow-up appointment if you require interpretation of the results.
  • If you require further treatment or care, our doctor will contact you to arrange, or refer you, to the most suitable option.

How to prepare for a smear test

You should undergo screening at a time when you are not on your period. If you are on your period during screening, the cervical sample won’t be clear and the results will be inconclusive. The best time to get a smear test done is halfway through your cycle, between one period and the next.

If you have sex in the 24 hours prior to your smear test, please try and refrain from using spermicidal products as these may also affect the results of the test. This includes condoms with spermicidal lubrication.

Smear test procedure at the gynaecology clinic in London

PAP Test

The appointment for smear test lasts for almost 10 minutes but the actual test only takes one or two minutes. Our doctor will perform the test and make you feel comfortable at the clinic.

The test might be uncomfortable as the doctor will use a speculum to open the vagina gently so that they can view the cervix. After this, they will use a small brush to take a sample of the cells from your cervix. There should be no pain whatsoever, and our doctors are extremely experienced in making women feel as comfortable as possible during the examination.

Pap smear test after care

You can carry on your normal activities after the smear test. You might notice a small amount of bleeding, which is nothing to worry about. If you have severe pain or excessive bleeding afterwards, get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible, so that they may help you.

Smear tests and pregnancy

If you had an abnormal test in the past and then became pregnant, then you might be asked to undergo more tests such as a colposcopy for nearly three to six months during pregnancy. Sometimes, this can be delayed till your baby is born and the doctor will give you more information on what is best for you.

Benefits of a smear test

  • It detects sudden abnormalities in cells, which if ignored, may cause cervical cancer
  • It is very helpful in detecting and avoiding cancer
  • It also helps in detecting some changes that can indicate other possible diseases such as HPV

How to get your smear test result

Pap Smear Test

The results for cervical screening will be sent to you in a letter, which our doctor will happily arrange to review with you, if you so wish.

Nine out of ten smear tests seem to deliver most appropriate result. If the test is normal, you will be invited for routine screening after three to five years, according to your age.

Sometimes the result might be 'inadequate' as there weren’t sufficient cells present in the sample or the cells couldn’t be seen easily. This may occur due to an infection. If this takes place, then you will be asked to perform another test after three months.

Result What it actually means
Irregular with lower-grade or borderline cell changes If no HPV has been found, then you will be asked to perform screening again within 3 or 5 years.
If HPV was found, then you may have to go for colposcopy.
Unusual with higher-grade cell changes Colposcopy is highly recommended.
HPV result is positive without any cell change You will be asked for a screening again within a year to check that the HPV has cleared.
If you get this result 3 times in a row, then you will have to undergo colposcopy.
HPV found positive with cell changes A colposcopy may be recommended to you.

FAQs

Can a smear test pick up when I have an infection?

A smear test does not screen for a bacterial or fungal infection - such as BV or Candida. A smear test refers to HPV related cell changes.

Do I need a smear test if I do not have sex?

Yes, it is extremely important to go for routine smear tests even if you do not currently have sex. Smear tests enable us to detect sudden changes in the cells of your cervix that can develop into cervical cancer, if not treated on time. These changes usually develop because of a human papilloma virus (HPV) infection.

HPV infections are common and may be spread when you have sex with your partner. Most women get HPV at some point of time in their lives. In the vast majority of cases, your body fights against the infection and you will not know you had this virus. A smear test will enable to check for sudden changes in cervical cells that occur due to HPV infections.

If you are sexually active, then you should perform regular smear tests. For some women, the virus may lie dormant and lead to abnormal cells, so routine screening is highly recommended.

How can abnormal cervical cells be treated?

You will come across different treatments that can either destroy abnormal cells or remove the area of the cervix where the cells are present.

If the smear test shows cells with moderate changes, then you might be asked to go for a colposcopy. If the doctor doing your colposcopy detects an area of your cervix to be abnormal, then they may ask you to perform a biopsy. This small sample of the unusual tissue will then be sent to the laboratory for testing.

Based on the results, you might have to perform the treatment to remove or destroy your abnormal cells. This is known as a large-loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ) or loop diathermy. In this method, your doctor will use a wire loop through an electric current to remove unusual cells.

You will have to undergo this treatment under local anaesthesia but general anaesthesia might be another option for you. Other treatments that can destroy abnormal cells are – laser therapy, cold coagulation and cryotherapy (freezing).

  • Suite A, 117A Harley St, Marylebone,
    London W1G 6AT, UK
  • info@gynaecologyclinic.com
  • 020 7183 0435
  • Mon - Fri : 9 am to 9 pm
    Sat : 10 am to 2 pm