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Do I need to have Pap tests after a hysterectomy?

Dr. Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

This is a very debatable question and comes up often times after a patient has had a hysterectomy. I tell my patients that if they have had a history of abnormal Pap smears in the past or a history of human papillomavirus that they do need to have regular Pap smears after a hysterectomy. Also, if the patient has had a supracervical hysterectomy in which the cervix is left in place, they of course also need to have routine yearly Pap smears. If the patient is in a monogamous relationship and has no history of the human papillomavirus or abnormal Pap smears and has had a hysterectomy, I tell these patients that I do not believe it is necessary for them to have a Pap test every year and that they can just followup with me on a yearly basis to examine their ovaries as well as a breast exam or if they feel more comfortable seeing their primary care provider and he or she is attuned to performing a gynecologic exam then they should feel free to seek help with their PCP.

You will still need regular Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer if you had a partial hysterectomy and did not have your cervix removed, or if your hysterectomy was for cancer. Ask your doctor what is best for you and how often you should have Pap tests.

Even if you do not need Pap tests, all women who have had a hysterectomy should have regular pelvic exams and mammograms.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health

If you have had a hyserectomy, the reason for the hysterectomy was a reason other than cancer, and the cervix was removed, you do not need to continue pap testing. Current surgical techniques may  not remove the cervix, in which case pap testing guidelines do not differ from women who have had hysterectomies.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.