6 Questions For Your OB/GYN

Doctor explains common tests and exams

For many women, an annual checkup with a gynecologist is nothing more than routine. With samples collected, thorough exams completed and diagnostics done, you may not think twice about what your OB/GYN is doing. But what if your test results are abnormal? Would you know what that means? Thaddeus Lancaster, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Gwinnett Physicians Group OB/GYN, answers some of the most common questions you may have always wanted to ask, but haven’t.

  1. What does a Pap test check? Also called a Pap smear, this test involves collecting a few cells off the wall of the cervix. These cells are sent to a lab, where the test looks for any abnormal cells.
  2. What can cause abnormal Pap test results (and what does an abnormal result mean)? If the Pap test comes back negative, that means there were no abnormal cells. If the test comes back positive, that means the lab detected the presence of abnormal cells. This can indicate slight inflammation, minor cell changes, precancerous conditions or cancer. If there are abnormal cells present, the Pap test may be repeated, or further testing may be advised.
  3. How often should I have a Pap test? The short answer is that it depends on your health history and your physician’s recommendations. For most women between the ages of 21 and 64, a Pap test is recommended every three years.
  4. What is a pelvic exam? During a pelvic exam, your health care provider checks your external and internal reproductive organs for infections and other signs of disease or abnormal cells.
  5. How often should I have a pelvic exam? Depending on your health history and physician’s recommendations, a pelvic exam is recommended every three years for most women between the ages of 21 and 64.
  6. Can the Pap test and pelvic exam be performed during my period? It’s preferable to have the Pap test and pelvic exam done on a day in which you aren’t menstruating. The presence of menstrual cells in the Pap test, in particular, may lead to inconclusive results and retesting. If you have an appointment and your period starts, call your health care provider and ask the provider’s preference.

Complete Care for Every Stage of a Woman's Life

The experts of Gwinnett Physicians Group OB/GYN are dedicated to fulfilling the unique medical needs of women. With an extensive range of comprehensive women’s health services, you will receive personalized care through every stage of life.

Our approach to care is one that actively includes the patient. We believe that understanding and involvement are keys to achieving and maintaining lasting health. Whether you need an appointment for health maintenance during pregnancy,

a routine Pap test or treatment for a UTI, scheduling an appointment has never been easier. From the comfort of your own home, you can use online scheduling to make an appointment with any of the trusted Gwinnett Physicians Group OB/GYN providers. Learn more at gwinnettphysiciansgroupobgyn.com.