Pap Smear Specialist

Julia Chowdhury, MD, FACOG -  - Board Certified OB/GYN

Center for Women's Healthcare

Julia Chowdhury, MD, FACOG

Board Certified OB/GYN located in Plano, TX

As a top-rated OB/GYN, Dr. Chowdhury, MD, FCOG advocates and is highly experienced in performing preventative screenings for women, including: pap smears, HPV tests and colposcopies. At Center for Women’s Health in Plano, TX. She provides pap smear and other tests for the earliest detection of cancer and other health issues in patients across the greater Dallas area.

Pap Smear Q & A

What is a pap smear and who should get one?

A pap smear is a test used to screen for warning signs of cervical cancer. The test is conducted by Dr. Chowdhury during routine pelvic exams.  It entails collecting cells from the cervix, that are then placed in a solution and sent to a laboratory for analysis. Results are available between one and three weeks. Pap smears are extremely important because it can take as many as 15 years, or more, for abnormal cells to become cancerous, and there are often no symptoms in the earliest stages of cervical cancer. Yet, when detected early, cervical cancer is highly curable. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all women have a pap test every three years starting at age 21 through age 65. Women with certain risk factors, such as a weakened immune system, may require more frequent testing.

What is HPV?

The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection and can infect both men and women. Most often, the virus goes away on its own without causing symptoms or health issues. However, when HPV does not go away, it can cause normal cells on the cervix to become abnormal, and eventually turn into cancer. Women over age 30 can be tested for the HPV simultaneously when getting a pap smear. This is known as co-testing.

What is a colposcopy?

A colposcopy is performed when the results of a patient’s pap smear are abnormal. During the procedure, Dr. Chowdhury positions an instrument called a colposcope a few inches away from your vulva. It shines a bright into the vagina, which the doctor looks at through a magnifying lens. If anything suspicious is spotted in the area, Dr. Chowdhury collects a small tissue sample to send out for laboratory testing. The procedure is used to detect a variety of disease, including: cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer.

How is colposcopy performed?

Colposcopy is performed right in the office in much the same way as a routine pelvic exam. Your vagina will be gently widened with a speculum that's been lubricated for your comfort. A special solution will be applied to help any abnormal cells “stand out” so they can be more easily evaluated. The colposcope is placed at the vaginal opening and positioned so the doctor can see the tissues and determine if any abnormal areas are present. If abnormal areas are identified, special instruments are used to take very small tissue samples which can be examined under a microscope in a lab. A camera can also be attached to the colposcope to take images for evaluation. The exam takes just a few minutes and you can go back to your regular routine immediately afterward.

Why are colposcopies performed?

Colposcopies often are performed following an abnormal Pap test result to determine the underlying cause of the result. Most abnormal Pap test results occur as a result of infection with the extremely common HPV virus or as a result of yeast infections or hormonal fluctuations; but sometimes, an abnormal result can indicate the presence of cancer cells, and a colposcopy can play an important role in detection and diagnosis. They can also be performed following or as part of a routine pelvic exam, especially if a sore is present or if you have an existing disease like HPV infection or herpes.


Insurance Information

We accept most major insurances but please note, we do NOT accept the following: Medicaid, Medicare, Molina, Amerigroup, Superior Health, CHIP Perinate, or Parkland

If you have any questions regarding insurance benefits, please give our office a call.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas
Texas Women's Health Program