A hysterectomy can be very scary for a woman, but there are benefits. For example, you no longer need birth control as there is no possibility of pregnancy. You don’t have to deal with anymore menstrual periods. You don’t need anymore pap smears – right?
You May Need Regular Pap Smears
Pap smears are used to detect cancer – particularly cervical cancer. If you’ve only had a partial hysterectomy, and you still have a cervix, you still need regular pap smears. You may also need regular pap smears for at least five years if you had any condition that was malignant, which led to your hysterectomy.
You should discuss whether you still need regular pap smears with your gynecologist at the time of your hysterectomy. He or she is better able to advise you on the matter, as it relates to your specific health condition. Do not assume that you do not need pap smears without talking to your doctor.
You May Not Need Regular Pap Smears
In most cases, if the cervix has been removed, and you’ve had a complete hysterectomy – including the removal of the cervix, both ovaries, both tubes, and the uterus – there is no need to have regular pap smears. However, this only applies if the problems that you had which led to the hysterectomy were benign.
Depending on your health issues, your doctor may still want you to come for regular pap smears, but typically, these pap smears will not occur as often. For example, instead of twice a year, you may visit once a year. Instead of once a year, you may only need a pap smear every two years. Follow your doctors advice on this matter.
There Are Instances When a Pap smear Becomes Necessary
If you start experiencing odor, itching, or discharge from the vagina, you need a pap smear. This is true whether you have a cervix or not. These are all symptoms of an infection. Just because you have had a hysterectomy, you are still at risk for feminine infections – even if you never have sex. Infections can occur for a variety of reasons.
Make sure that you are paying attention to your body. If you are experiencing discharge, odor, itching, or pain during sex, you need to visit your gynecologist. Also, although over-the-counter medications are available for yeast infections, often what seems like a yeast infection isn’t a yeast infection at all. Visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis.