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Pap Smear

A Pap Smear is a test all women need after age 21 regardless of sexual activity or same sex partners. A pap smear is a swab/sample of tissue from the Cervix done to check for abnormal cells that could be precancerous or abnormal due to inflammation or most commonly due to HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). 

What to expect during a Pap:

Web MD: Pap smear guide

Pap Smear: About Us

Does it hurt?

Mild discomfort or pressure during the exam is typical.

Some minor spotting afterwards is normal. Pain could be a symptom that needs to be discussed in more detail. 

Best advice: Empty your bladder, Relax, communicate any needs/concerns/history BEFORE starting.

Slow deep breaths & communicate if the exam is painful or not feeling right.

Pap Smear: Text

When should I get a Pap Smear?

When you get tested depends on a couple different variables:

  • 21-24 years old: you can choose to get tested every 3 years. You can also begin testing at 25

  • 25-65 years old: If it is just the Pap Smear you can continue every 3 years. If your Pap Smear is done with an HPV test it can be done every 5 years.

  • 65 or older: you should not need a Pap Smear anymore unless recommended by your provider.

*Testing can also depend on personal health. Check with your provider during your visit to see how often they recommend getting tested.*

ACS’s Updated Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines Explained

Pap Smear: Text

How should I prepare for my pap smear?

*PERIOD ALERT: Reschedule if you are on or have started your period. Blood can affect the accuracy of the results.

48 hours before your visit these things can affect the accuracy of your results:

  • Don't have sex or use lubracants.

  • Don't use sprays or powders near the vagina.

  • Don't insert anything into the vagina, including tampons, medications, creams, and suppositories.

  • Don't rinse the vagina with water, vinegar, or other fluid (douche). {Never, ever douche} 

Mayo Clinic: Pap Smear & Prep

Pap Smear: Text
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