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LEARN: Cervical Health Awareness

Preventive Screening: At Your Cervix

As a woman, things can get pretty uncomfortable, especially when it comes to taking care of your body. There are long wait times, unexpected pains in unexpected places, and dealing with nerves during a less-than-ideal doctor’s appointment. But 30 minutes of being uncomfortable for the sake of prevention is better than a lifetime of uncomfortable appointments due to the outcomes of a chronic disease.

The female body is capable of many things: whether it is creating life, sustaining multiple body systems simultaneously, or carrying out high-level brain function, it is always working. As with anything that is always working, we might experience a little wear and tear. If you want to better yourself this year, we’ve got a twist on your traditional resolution.

Put cervical health at the top of your list this year and you can cross it off at your next doctor’s visit.

What is a cervix?

The cervix is located at the lower portion of the uterus. It has a small opening that allows for menstrual blood to leave a woman’s body. Your provider checks the health of your cervix by performing a routine Pap test.

When should you or a loved one start screenings?

Your doctor is checking for changes in the cells of the cervix, and might administer the HPV test, to look for the virus that causes cell changes. They might explain these changes as cervicitis, polyps and cysts, cervical incompetence, and cancers. It is important to note that while possible that abnormal cell changes are indicative of cancer, this is not always the case.

When should you or a loved one start screenings?

The United States Preventive Services Task Force Guidelines for the average woman are below:

Age 21: Women should get their first Pap test, regardless of whether or not they are already sexually active. It is not recommended women get their first Pap test until age 21.

Ages 21-29: Get your Pap test every three years in this age group. Routine HPV tests are not recommended because the infections in this age group tend to last a short time and go away on their own.

Ages 30-65: Every five years, women in this age group should have a Pap test and an HPV test, or get a Pap test every three years.

Ages 65 and up: Women should consult their providers to learn if screening is necessary, especially if recent test results returned negatively.

As always, these guidelines have exceptions, please consult your healthcare provider for further information.

What can you do to improve the health of your cervix?

Lower your risk of cervical cancer with our favorite healthy lifestyle tips. Don’t smoke, use condoms, consider getting an HPV vaccine, and get screened.

Make this your year by taking care of the whole you. Good luck! And as always, your Medical Home Port Team is here for you!