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Pap smear: Do I need one if I'm a virgin?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pap-smear/AN01635
- With Mayo Clinic internist
Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.read biographyclose window
Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.
Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, certified by the American Board of Family Practice, has been practicing medicine at Mayo Clinic since 1995 with special interests in breast diseases and women's health.
Dr. Pruthi is a consultant in the Department of Medicine, the Division of General Internal Medicine and the Breast Diagnostic Clinic. She is an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native is enthusiastic about promoting education and patient-related research and has been active in both areas since joining Mayo Clinic. Dr. Pruthi is the primary investigator at Mayo Clinic of a clinical trial evaluating new agents for the prevention of breast cancer and has research interests in the identification of biomarkers for early detection of breast cancer.
Her other research and clinical interests include managing the health of women who are at increased risk of breast cancer, breast pain and hot flashes, and developing patient education decision-making tools for breast-related concerns.
She is past director of the Breast Diagnostic Clinic and has been a member of the Women's Health Executive Committee. Dr. Pruthi has been newly elected as a secretary of the executive committee for the American Society of Breast Disease. She has assisted with a variety of website content.
"Having an opportunity to share information and empower my patients in the way that will help them to understand and be able to make educated decisions about their own health is very important to me," Dr. Pruthi says.
"The Internet is a tremendous resource and information site for people, and I want them to get up-to-date and accurate information to be able to make informed choices for themselves, their family members and friends."
Pap smear: Do I need one if I'm a virgin?
Do virgins need Pap smears? Does a Pap smear cause you to lose your virginity?
from Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.
If you're a virgin — meaning you haven't had sexual (vaginal) intercourse — you probably don't need a Pap smear. And even if you do have a Pap smear, it will not cause you to lose your virginity. Although the instruments used to collect the cervical cells may stretch or even tear your hymen — the thin tissue covering the vaginal opening, which is present in some women who've never had sex — you will only lose your virginity when you have sexual intercourse.
The purpose of a Pap smear is to collect cells from your cervix, which is the lower end of your uterus. The cells collected in a Pap smear can detect if you have cervical cancer or suspicious cells that indicate you may develop cervical cancer.
In most cases, cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus (HPV). If you've never had any type of sexual intercourse, you're unlikely to have HPV. However, there are other risk factors for developing cervical cancer, such as family history and smoking, so talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
For effective cervical cancer screening, the American Cancer Society recommends that all women have an initial Pap smear by the age of 21, regardless of whether or not they've had sexual intercourse, or after they've been sexually active for three years, whichever comes first. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women begin having Pap smears at age 21, regardless of when they become sexually active.Next question
Pap smear: Still needed after hysterectomy?
- Cervical cancer: Prevention and early detection. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CervicalCancer/MoreInformation/CervicalCancerPreventionandEarlyDetection/index. Accessed June 16, 2011.
- Cervical cytology screening. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/documents/PB109_Cervical_Cytology_Screening.pdf. Accessed June 16, 2011.