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What should I expect during a Pap smear?

During a Pap test you may feel a little pressure in your pelvic area and possibly mild cramping that lasts for just a few minutes. After a Pap test, you may experience a small amount of bleeding.

A Pap test is a laboratory exam that screens for cervical cancer. Cells are collected from your cervix during a pelvic exam. While you are lying on your back, your doctor will insert a plastic or metal device called a speculum into your vagina. Some speculums are metal and may feel cold when inserted into your vagina, but at most medical facilities the speculum is warmed before insertion. The speculum opens up the vagina to allow the doctor to see the inside of the vagina and cervix clearly. You may feel a small amount of pressure when the speculum is inserted.

Your doctor will then insert a tiny brush or spatula to collect cells from the surface of the cervix. You may feel a little bit of cramping during this part of the exam. Those cells will then be sent to a laboratory for examination.

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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.