Annual Exams and Pap Smears

Women who are 21 (younger, if sexually active) and over should have annual gynecological examinations. You should also see your gynecologist more often if you are planning pregnancy, have a sexually transmitted infection or have a partner who has STI, have a history of sexually related illness, or have a mother or sister who developed breast cancer before menopause.

To achieve the most accurate results from your gynecological examination and annual Pap smear, the best time for your appointment is one week after your period, while the least advisable time is the week prior to your menstrual cycle. During your visit, your doctor will do a Pap smear – a routine screening test that evaluates the presence of premalignant or cancerous conditions of the cervix.