How To Prepare For a Pap Smear

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How To Prepare For a Pap Smear

Women who are sexually active are advised to go through a medical examination called a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer probability and other sexually transmitted diseases or infections. Just like other medical exams, preparing properly for a pap smear is very important, so here are a few tips you should keep in mind.

Schedule The Appointment

Going to your gynecologist unannounced and without an appointment is not advisable. Even if the pap smear itself won’t take very long, remember that you’re not the only patient who’ll be undergoing the procedure for the day. Call up the health provider at least a week before you plan to have the test done.

When scheduling your pap smear, you should take in consideration your menstrual period. The best time to have the test is at least one or two weeks after you start your menstrual period. It’s when the health provider can get your cleanest and clearest cervical cells sample. If you get your period on the day of the exam, reschedule. If you’re menopausal, though, you can have your pap smear anytime of the month. If you’re experiencing gynecological problems or abnormal bleeding you must have a pap smear as soon as you can.

Prepare Answers To The Health Provider’s Questions

The gynecologist will be asking you a series of questions before the procedure. Don’t worry because this is actually a part of the exam. Make sure you answer as honestly and accurately as you can. Common questions that are asked include:

  • Are you sexually active?
  • When was the date of the first day of your last menstrual period?
    Are you pregnant?
  • Are you taking medications, hormones or birth control pills?
  • Have you had one or more risk factors for cervical cancer in the past?
  • Were you ever exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD)?
  • Have you ever undergone radiation therapy, surgery or chemotherapy?

Do Not Take Tub Baths

Soaking in a hot bath is refreshing, but not advisable 48 hours before your pap smear. Tub baths can irritate your cervix and can prevent inaccurate cell sample. Swimming is also inadvisable. Even douching isn’t a good idea. To clean yourself, you can just take a shower. After the pap smear test, you can bring back your bathtub routine.

Don’t Use Feminine Products Before The Pap Smear

Some feminine products can also cause cervical irritation and must be avoided at least three days before the pap smear. Don’t use tampons and feminine deodorant powders or sprays. Birth control products, like vaginal lubricant, foams, jellies or spermicide are also a no-no.

Avoid Intercourse

Enticing as it may seem, you should avoid having sexual intercourse at least two days before your schedule. Explain this to your partner, so he will understand why you need to abstain from sex for a while.

You cam get the most accurate pap smear results with these tips. When you’re ready, go to your health care provider and expect good results.



  1. How to Get Rid of Genital Warts Naturally - said,

    on March 13th, 2012 at 11:56 am

    [...] rare, if you are a woman then a simple Pap test will detect any abnormal cervical cells (Tips on how to prepare for a pap smear). If you believe or know that you have genital warts it’s a good idea to see your doctor for [...]

  2. Carole Heath said,

    on March 14th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    When ever i go for a pap smear test i always have a bath the night before, and in the morning i wash down below as well to make sure i am clean. I don’t use any feminine hygiene products at all as this article says not too. This can cause problems with the result of the test i think, a friend of mine was a nurse at a local clinic where smear tests were carried out and she has now retired from the clinic, and she told me that you would be surprised how many women do not wash themselves before they go for a pap smear test.