Pap Smear Singapore: What can be seen in a Pap Smear?

A Pap smear is a diagnostic technique used to detect disease or abnormalities in the cervix. It is also called a cervical smear, smear test, or cytology test. We explain what you really need to know about Pap smear on this page: Check it out.

A Pap smear can be used to monitor for cervical cancer and precancerous changes by checking the cells of the cervix for irregularities that may progress to invasive cancer if untreated. A Pap smear can also be used to check if you have an infection in your cervix (for example, chlamydia).

What can a Gynecologist see in a Pap smear?

As explained above, a Pap smear is a test used to detect abnormalities in the cells of the cervix. The test can identify early signs of cervical cancer and other conditions that may require further evaluation. During your Pap smear in Singapore, a healthcare professional will collect cells from the cervix using a small brush or spatula. The cells are then sent to a laboratory for examination. A Pap smear can reveal the presence of:

  • Infections such as HPV or chlamydia: Usually, women who have an infection will experience symptoms such as abnormal vaginal discharge or genital warts. A Pap smear can help detect the presence of infection by checking for the presence of certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi in your cervix cells.
  • Precancerous changes: These are areas of abnormally shaped cells on the surface of the cervix that may develop into cancer. If the cells show irregular changes, you will be referred to a gynecologist for further examination and possible treatment such as cryotherapy (freezing of abnormal tissues).
  • Cells that show signs of cancer: If you have an abnormal area in your cervix, chances are it may develop into cervical cancer if left untreated.
  • Other sexually transmitted infections: Your doctor may take a swab for testing for other STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV.

What is the Ideal Frequency for getting Pap Smears?

A Pap smear should be done every three years from the age of 21 to 29 years. From the age of 30 to 65, it can be repeated every five years or after two negative tests in a row. 

If you are over 65 and have had three normal tests in a row with no abnormal results, you can stop having Pap smears done altogether. It is important to note that not all doctors follow this protocol, and some will advise having an annual Pap smear starting at age 25 regardless of sexual activity status. Women who are due for their pap screening test should be checked for cervical cancer and precancerous changes. Here are a few more helpful guidelines on Pap smear in Singapore.

  • Women with genetic conditions: Women who have a family history of certain genetic conditions, such as those involving the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (responsible for breast and ovarian cancers), may require more frequent Pap smears, depending on their circumstances. Their doctor will recommend an interval based on your personal health history and risk assessment. Keep in mind that a diagnosis in your family increases your risk of developing cervical cancer, so it is important to have regular Pap smears done.
  • Women who have had a hysterectomy: If you have undergone a total hysterectomy, where the uterus and cervix are removed, you no longer need to worry about HPV or precancerous changes in the cervix. However, if only the upper part of the cervix has been removed, pap tests should be carried out as usual with an interval length based on your age and health history.
  • Women who use birth control methods such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants: You will still require yearly Pap smears even if you are on one of these contraceptives.
  • Immunosuppressive therapy: People who are under steroid medications for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis may require more frequent Pap smears to check the health of their cervix .

How can you prepare for your Upcoming Pap smear Appointment?

It is important to make sure that you do not have any bleeding disorders before having a Pap smear done, particularly if there is an abnormal area in your cervix. Stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) at least two weeks before the procedure. Some doctors also recommend stopping aspirin for two days before your Pap smear.

As part of your preparation, it is also advisable that you do not have sexual intercourse or use vaginal creams, douches, or tampons on the day before your appointment . These products may interfere with the samples being taken during the test 

What will happen During a Regular Pap smear?

Your doctor will advise you whether they want to do a regular Pap smear where cells are collected from inside the vagina using a small brush or spatula, or if it is done transvaginally, where an instrument called a speculum is inserted into your vagina, and an endocervical brush is used to obtain cells from the canal of your cervix. 

Most pap smears are done in an office setting or with a portable microscope that may be brought to you for home testing, but if your doctor feels that more detailed views are needed, they may ask you to go for further testing in a lab under the care of a cytotechnologist. If there is an abnormal area present in your Pap smear results, follow-up testing will vary according to the severity of the condition.

Final Thoughts

A Pap smear is a simple way to screen for cervical cancer, and their regular use can help women prevent this disease. A regular Pap smear helps identify any potential changes in the cervix that may need closer inspection or even treatment. 

Do not forget to prepare yourself physically by eating well and stopping all medications at least two weeks before your appointment. In case anything abnormal shows up in your test results, do not panic; follow-up testing will be performed based on the severity of the condition. 

We offer a range of services, including check-ups, birth control, pre/postnatal care, and immunizations. In addition to these, we provide STD testing and other clinical services such as vasectomy, HIV screening, infertility management, and cancer screening. Our friendly staff provides a warm, welcoming environment for patients in Singapore. Call us at (+65) 6226 6442 or book your appointment online today!

The Health Advisory Clinic – Women’s Health | STD/HIV Testing
1 Raffles Pl, #04-49, Singapore 048616
+65 9886 6442