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Why shouldn't I have a PAP smear before the age of 21?

Women younger than 21 years, regardless of sexual history, should not get Pap tests. “Pap-test abnormalities are common in teenage girls, but most of the abnormalities will clear up on their own,” says Janet Pregler, MD, director of the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center. “It’s not a good idea to perform unnecessary procedures on a young woman’s uterus,” she says. She adds that risk for cervical cancer later in life is reduced when teens receive the HPV vaccine before they become sexually active.

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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.