It's one of those internal body parts we don't think about too much. The cervix is a strong muscular ring at the base of the uterus. It responds to hormone messages throughout a female's reproductive life by making subtle changes in an orderly and predictable fashion until the woman reaches menopause. In 2012 the guidelines for annual testing of the cervix cells, called a "pap" test changed. The recommendations for repeat testing are based on age, past pap test results, and both personal and familial history of cervical cancer. At menopause the female's body stops sending hormone messages at levels high enough for the cervix to respond to and it starts to thin and become fragile. Some have interpreted the new guidelines to mean that they don't need to have an annual exam and instead choose every 2-3 years or before or after a certain age or time in their lives. I like to remind women that we have more going on in that area of our bodies than just a cervix! Don't neglect your annual exam ladies!!! We'll test the cervical cells via pap test per the recommended guidelines, yes, but don't forego the annual exam. We can come up with a lot of conversation pieces regarding your body from head to toe during the annual exam. Have you made an appointment for your "head to toe" exam this year? Treat your whole body right and call your health care provider today!