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How do I prepare for a Pap smear test?

No preparation is needed for a Pap smear. However, we do recommend that you are not on your period when it is a heavy flow because it can obscure the reading of the Pap and it sometimes needs to be redone. Light or minimal bleeding is okay.
A Pap smear is a procedure in which cells are swabbed from the cervix and looked at under a microscope. For accurate results, here are some tips to prepare for a Pap test:
  • Do not douche for two days before the test.
  • Do not have vaginal sex for two days before the test.
  • Do not use vaginal medicines (unless directed by your healthcare provider), jells, foams or creams for two days before the test.
  • Do not schedule your Pap test when you will have your menstrual period. If you get your period the day of the appointment, call and reschedule.
When preparing for a Pap smear:
  • Try to have your test about two weeks after your period. If you have your period on the day of your test, call to change the appointment.
  • Do not use sprays, douches, creams, foams, jellies, or medications in the vaginal area for three days before your test.
  • Do not have sex for 24 hours before your test.

It is important that you not be too close to your menstrual cycle and have not had sex recently when going into a Pap smear.

You don't have to do anything special to prepare for a Pap smear, but there are a few things you shouldn't do beforehand. Find out what they are by watching my video.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.