7 Scary Conditions Your Pap smear Doesn’t Test For

7 Scary Conditions Your Pap smear Doesn’t Test For

You’ve probably been told to have a regular Pap smear once every three years. So, what is a Pap smear? A Pap smear, also known as Pap test, is an exam to test for cervical cancer in women. This test can also detect changes in your cervical cells that may progress into cancer in the future. Gynecologists usually use Pap smears to diagnose cervical abnormalities linked to HPV infections. And, experts believe that’s all a Pap smear can test for. If you have your normal Pap results, you may have a negative HPV test result. But that doesn’t mean you’re completely free from other diseases. In fact, Pap smears may fail to check for several diseases like chlamydia and herpes. So, you need to be active and ask for the testing you want made.

Here are 7 scary conditions that your Pap smear doesn’t test for.

  1. Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is a cancer of the ovary that affects 20,000 women in the U.S each year. It’s estimated that about 20% of the cancers are found at an early stage. And, about 94% of patients who are at a localized stage can live longer than five years after diagnosis. To find ovarian cancer early, gynecologists recommend patients follow these things.

Have regular health exams. For example, a pelvic exam can be useful to identify reproductive system cancers. Besides, it helps find other cancers and gynecologic conditions. You may have a Pap smear to detect cervical cancer at an early stage. But ovarian cancers are rarely tested through a Pap smear. In fact, they are usually found at an advanced stage.  

See a doctor if you have symptoms. There is no noticeable symptoms of ovarian cancers in the early stage. But sometimes, the cancers may cause early symptoms. They are abdominal pain or swelling, bloating, pelvic pressure and urinary problems. If you have these symptoms that occur daily for 2-3 weeks, speak to your doctor right away.

Screening tests for ovarian cancer. Some exams and screening tests are used to detect cancer like mammogram. This test is known for detecting breast cancer in its earliest stage. Besides, TVUS and CA-125 blood test can be used to test for ovarian cancers.

Depending on the disease’s stage, ovarian cancers can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

  1. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs in the U.S, with 1.5 million people diagnosed last year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disease occurs mostly in young women under the age of 25.

Like other STDs, chlamydia causes no symptom in its early stages. But sometimes, the symptoms become apparent within 1-2 weeks of getting infected. These may include painful periods, abnormal vaginal discharge, pain and burning during sex or urination. If you suffer one or more of these symptoms, consult your doctor to get a chlamydia test.

There are 2 ways to test for chlamydia. They are a urine sample and a sample scraped from the inside of the vagina. A pap smear doesn’t screen for chlamydia, and not all STDs will be seen on your Pap.

Chlamydia is highly contagious; but, you can treat it with antibiotics. If untreated, the disease can spread to other parts of the body. Furthermore, it can cause long-term health problems like infertility.

  1. Syphilis

Syphilis is a rare STD; but it is highly contagious through sexual activity. It’s estimated that approximately 28,000 Americans were diagnosed with syphilis in 2016.

Symptoms of syphilis are rare but can include small painless ulcers. Pregnant women with syphilis can pass the disease on to their baby. That can cause abnormalities or even death to the child.

For early diagnosis, a blood test can be recommended to look for antibodies. A pap smear cannot detect the disease. Syphilis can be treated with penicillin or tetracycline.

Syphilis Symptoms

  1. Trichomoniasis

This is a very common STD that affects more than 3.5 million people. Most people with the disease don’t show any symptoms. And only 30% of affected ones experience some symptoms. For example, redness, burning, soreness, itching, abnormal vaginal discharge and discomfort with urination. If you have trich, you may have higher chances of spreading other STIs like HIV.

A pap smear can’t identify this disease. Its diagnosis may involve a sample scraping the inside of your vagina. The infection can easily be treated with medications. Besides, you need to practice a healthy lifestyle to lower your chances of getting it. For example, avoid douching and use condoms during sex. Moreover, talk openly with your partner about your disease to determine the best choice for both.

  1. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea, also called the clap, affected more than 450,000 people in the U.S last year. The disease is caused by bacteria and can be spread through sexual contact.

Like most STDs, gonorrhea doesn’t have any symptoms at all. But sometimes, patients may suffer pain and other problems in the rectum, eyes, throat or joints.

You should get tested for gonorrhea because it can develop complications if untreated. To prevent gonorrhea, the best way is to avoid having sex. Besides, you should practice safe sex and get regular screenings.

Gonorrhea Symptoms

  1. Herpes

Genital herpes is a common STD that affects 20 percent of the population. The disease is caused by the herpes simplex virus and characterized by painful sores. Generally, it takes these herpes blisters a week to heal; but, the virus still remains in the body. Genital herpes can be highly contagious through direct skin contact or sexual intercourse.

Doctors recommend all women who are sexually active get tested every year. During the test, a doctor may also check for chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. This depends on your risk factors. If you want more tests, consult your doctor.

Genital herpes can be treated with topical antiviral creams like Prosurx. This cream can relieve symptoms and inactivate the herpes simplex virus. Thus, it can help prevent recurring infections. Besides, patients with genital herpes should follow preventative tips to lower chances of spreading the virus. For example, use condoms during sex, avoid sharing personal items and avoid kissing. Here’s How to Treat Genital Herpes Symptoms Naturally 

  1. PCOS

PCOS happens when woman’s hormones are out of balance. The condition may disturb your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant.

Symptoms of PCOS are excessive acne, unexplained weight gain and irregular periods. If you have symptoms, let your doctor know. He/she may prescribe a physical exam and lab tests to identify the condition.

To relieve the symptoms, you can take medications. Besides, exercise regularly, eat healthy and live happy can be very helpful.

PCOS symptoms

A Pap smear doesn’t test for all STDs that millions people worldwide are suffering from. However, you can see your doctor for other useful tests to detect your disease. Besides, you need to pay attention to your lifestyle habits to protect your body against diseases.

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