Most people have some inkling that changes regarding the recommendations of an annual pap smear for women have been in flux for the past few years. Much of this discussion is secondary to the fact that OB/GYNs now have additional tools at their disposal to help identify those patients that are at greatest need for more frequent pap smear testing (e.g., annually). For those that don’t need an annual pap, does that mean they can forgo their annual visit to the gynecologist?
The simple answer is NO! You are getting more from your gynecologist than a pap smear. Your doctor is doing a routine physical exam and specifically examining your breasts and pelvic organs for problems. Your regular primary care physician may not feel comfortable performing these exams. In addition, any treatment you may be receiving, such as contraceptive treatments, PMS treatments, and treatment for chronic conditions such as endometriosis require regular contact with you doctor to make sure that the treatments are working and not creating any side effects.
Even though your doctor may tell you not to get another pap for 2-3 years, make sure you still see your OB/GYN annually to get follow up on your overall health.