If you’re already a mom, you know good and well what your cervix is. At least, you’ve heard a lot about it. It’s the part inside you that dilates to push your baby through. During the birth process, many of us get our cervix checked to see how far along we are in labor. The cervix is an amazing part of the female body that makes childbirth possible. We love our cervix! So it makes sense that we want to take care of it, right?
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month—and what better way to check off some simple resolutions than to take care of your body. You’ve already met your cervix. You’re grateful for the blessings it has brought you, and now it’s time to give back. Get a pap smear!
The Pap Smear
According to the CDC there are less than 200,000 cases of cervical cancer each year. All women over 30 are at risk for cervical cancer, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. Its easily detectable through a routine pap smear.
Women ages 21-65 should have pap testing done every 3 years. If you’re not sure how long it’s been, call your doctor and have them look it up for you. What does the pap smear do? Relative to the cervix, it looks for precancers – cell changes that may hint that you might develop cervical cancer. Other tests can be run along with the pap that look for STI’s or any other problems you may have. Don’t be afraid of testing—knowledge is power!
Some risk factors for cervical cancer include:
- Weakened immune system
- Imbalanced diet
- Long-term use of birth control pills
- IUD use
- Multiple pregnancies
You might notice that many of the risk factors on that list sound like . . . well, most women! If you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, use any form of birth control, or have had more than one child—you are at risk. Get checked. Make a point to call your doctor and set up an appointment this month while you’re still on fire about tackling some 2019 resolutions. Nothing says self-care like a pelvic exam, right?
Your cervix has been good to you. It helps your menstrual blood exit your body, produces lubrication and orgasms, tells sperm where to go during intercourse, holds your baby tightly in place during pregnancy, and let’s your little one exit the womb when it’s time. Pretty incredible, right? Your cervix is magical. Treat it well, and make sure it stays healthy in 2019.
Click here to locate free/low cost pap smear testing in your state.