4 Ways to Keep Your Cervix Healthy

4 Ways to Keep Your Cervix Healthy

The cervix is a muscular tube that connects the uterus and vagina. Your cervix allows fluids to enter and leave the uterus and serves as a passageway for natural childbirth. 

It’s also an organ at risk of cellular changes that lead to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer was once the most common cause of cancer death in women. But with advances in medical research, testing, and treatment, that’s no longer the case.

At Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, in Hastings and Grand Island, Nebraska, our team of women’s health experts has been helping women stay healthy for more than three decades. When it comes to keeping your cervix healthy, preventive measures go a long way.

1. Schedule your well-woman exam

We consider the well-woman exam the most important health visit of the year. During this exam, we talk about your concerns, assess your whole health, and look for signs of future health problems by performing important health screenings. This exam is all about keeping you — your cervix included — healthy. 

2. Get regular Pap smears

One of the screening tests we may perform during your well-woman exam is a Pap smear. This test was designed to screen for cervical cancer and is responsible for saving many lives. You need to start getting Pap smears at age 21 and continue to get regular Pap smears every three years until age 65.

For this test, we collect cells from your cervix and send the sample to the pathology lab for testing. Finding and treating cervical cancer in its early stages improves your chances of a full recovery. 

3. Update your vaccinations

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted disease, and certain strains of HPV increase your risk of developing cervical cancer. HPV vaccinations can protect you from the virus that causes cervical cancer. 

HPV vaccines can start as early as age 9, but you can still get protection if you’re vaccinated later. The HPV vaccine is approved for all people through age 45.

4. Add HPV testing

Adding HPV testing to your health screenings also keeps your cervix healthy. When you reach age 30, you can have a Pap smear and HPV testing at the same time. The HPV test is similar to the Pap test and requires cell samples from the cervix.

If your Pap and HPV test results are negative, you only need to repeat these two tests every five years (instead of every three years if you only have the Pap smear).

Your cervix is one small part of your reproductive system, but it may influence your health now and later. Taking steps to keep your cervix healthy can prevent future problems.

Do you have concerns about cervical cancer? Has it been more than three years since your last Pap smear? If you answered yes to these questions, it’s time to take action for your cervical health and schedule your well-woman exam. 

Call the Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, office convenient to you or request an appointment online today to schedule your well-woman exam.

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