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Papsmear save lives
[00:00:00] Okay, people, I'm gonna do this quick. This is gonna be the first in an installment of. Couple of videos where we're gonna talk about the pap smear, the pap smear test, the Papua Nickel allow test. It's the test where we can see if your cervix is normal and healthy. I hate the word normal, but that's what we use here because if your cervix is not normal and healthy, that means you might have some abnormal or irregular cells or atypical cell they might be called, which in the medical terminology is called dysplasia.
This means irreg. So this is how it works. Here's my little model of your cervix. It never looks this good. This is the speculum. Okay, so we put in the speculum, which is not a clamp. Remember, it's just a little device we put into your vagina. Open it up so we can look at your cervix. The vagina never looks this kind of open and easy because often if you've had a baby and it's this open, the walls will collapse in, and if you haven't had a baby, then it's often not this big for us to be able to see [00:01:00] so easily, but I'll elastic.
This is our model, the cervix, which is that little hole in there that looks like a donut also almost never has an opening that's that open. That's the Cervical os, which is called, which is Latin for mouth, and that is, , the babies come out. If you have babies, that is where your period comes out. When you have your period, that is where an I U D goes in.
If you have an i U D, and that is where we use this little brush to go in and just swab some cells from the cervix. Okay, now look, this brush nice and soft. So the speculum goes in, the doctor swabs your cervix. It looks kind of like this, puts it into a vial that goes to the lab. The lab sends the report back.
The report will say something like, Hey, your pap smears are. And if you're over 30, it will talk about HPV and say your HPV is negative or positive. If you are under 30, the Pap smear will just say normal or not. It will not comment on hpv. If your cells are normal, it will only comment if [00:02:00] your cells are irregular on the HPV V when you're under 30.
We're gonna talk about pap smears in the next couple installments, meaning in more detail as far as what do irregularities mean. But this is gonna be a quick one just telling you this. The couple little nuggets. A, the pap smear is to tell you about the cells in your cervix. That's it. It doesn't tell you about ovarian cancer.
It doesn't tell you about anything else. It tells you about the cells in your cervix. The cells in your cervix can become irregular. Because of changes from the HPV virus. The HPV virus is the virus that we get when we've had sex. Even with a condom, 80 to 90% of us can get it. Now people are getting vaccinated, but even with the vaccine, a still a huge number.
Get the virus because it's so easily transmissible and there's so many strains. But that sounds so scary, you say, to which I would say, no it doesn't, cuz it's just so common. And while the vast majority of us will get exposed to hpv, a teeny number will ever progress to cervical cancer because the way it works is [00:03:00] if you've been exposed to hpv, many of you won't even know it, some of you will be told you have ab, abnormal Pap s.
The abnormal pap smear means this is a screening test. Now your doctor gets alerted to do a diagnostic test, which is called a coloscopy, which is a fancy word for a microscope looking at your cervix. We're gonna talk about that in another video. The coloscopy is meant to then be the diagnostic test where the doctor takes a couple of little samples to make sure that your cells are either actually normal, because the pap smear as a screening test has false positive.
Or is slightly abnormal, slightly irregular, something we call low grade changes, which means leave them alone. Your body will take care of those in the next six to 12 to 18 months or more. High grade changes, or what we call severe changes, severe dysplasia, which doesn't mean severe, it's a terrible word.
It means that your doctor will say, okay, because you have more [00:04:00] significant abnormalities, let's go ahead and remove a little part of your c. So that those changes don't turn into cervical cancer because the pap smears purpose is finding those cells so super early that they will not turn into cancer.
And again, let's just review this. Millions of us have hpv, some of us have abnormal pap smears. Very few of us will have significant changes. Even those of us who will have significant changes on our pap smear are still unlikely for those changes to develop into cervical cancer, but because we're not sure who among those significant changes will turn into cancer, we take those p those little pieces out, meaning that's your cervix.
If you had a very irregular pap smear that showed up with very irregular changes on the coloscopy, the doctor would discuss removing a little circle. Around that circle that you see in that donut, something called a leap or cone biopsy to ensure that she has removed any changes before they could turn into anything.[00:05:00]
I hate to say bad, but concerning like cancer. So again, I hope that makes sense. Abnormal pap smear does not mean cancer. It's like several, several levels away. Abnormal cancer, in fact, will almost never turn into cervical cancer. But if we leave all of the abnormal changes from irregular pap smears alone, a small portion might turn into cancer.
So our trick is to figure out who falls into that category where they're more likely to turn into cancer, and let's remove those changes before it turns into. Again, I hate throwing around the word cervical cancer so much, but I also want you guys to know why you're doing the pap smear. I also really want you to remember that pap smear is not the way to check for things like ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer. There is no screening test for, you've heard me say this before, but if you have bloating or pain or pressure for more than two weeks, it's likely nothing. But go get it checked out. Call your doctor for an ultrasound because again, a pap smear does not look for anything other than changes in your cervix.
[00:06:00] Now, the little parenthesis to that is there are sometimes where a pap smear will come up with changes from your uterine lining. So if you are over age 45 and there are cells that are shedding from your uterine lining, it is rare. A reason for the doctor to be concerned because rarely it means you have extra cells that are shedding out that shouldn't be there because of things like uterine cancer.
But that's rare. And again, that's not the purpose of the pap smear. The purpose is to look for cellular changes that might turn into cancer. Might, might, might being the operative word. Okay. I hope that helps. Tomorrow or sometime in the next couple days, you're gonna get a story about coloscopy. I have a video where we talk about what they do and how we do it, and you're going to hear about, just more about hpv.
Okay? What can you do to decrease the chance of HPV causing issues? No smoking? Make sure you keep your immune system strong. Please see your doctor whenever she tells you to do a pap smear. [00:07:00] What can you do to prevent getting HPV at. abstinence. That's actually it. You have to accept that if you're having sex, there is a small chance that you're gonna get exposed.
I shouldn't even say a small chance because 80 to 90% of us carry it. Even if you use condoms, even if you have the vaccine, those two things will decrease the chance. Meaning, condoms and vaccine will decrease the chance of getting HPV V, but it won't eliminate it. That's just the way it is. Okay. It's not scary.
It's common, and it's one of those things that we can find and fix. Say it with me, find and fix makes me happy. Okay. Bye.