How To Prepare
Before a Pap test:
- Try to schedule the test when you are not having your period, since blood can interfere with the results of the test. If your bleeding is light, you may still be able to have a Pap test.
- Do not use douches, tampons, vaginal medicines, sprays, or powders for at least 24 hours before having a Pap test.
At the beginning of your visit, tell your doctor:
- If you are or might be pregnant.
- If you have any reproductive or urinary tract symptoms such as itching, redness, sores, swelling, or an unusual odor or increased vaginal discharge. If you have been performing regular vaginal self-exams, discuss any changes you have noticed with your doctor. For more information, see the topic Reference Vaginal Self-Examination (VSE).
- If you are using birth control.
- If this is your first Pap test.
- The first day of your last menstrual period and how long your period lasted.
- If you have had surgery or other procedures such as radiation therapy to the Reference vagina Opens New Window, cervix, Reference vulva Opens New Window, or uterus.
If you have had problems with pelvic exams in the past or have experienced rape or sexual abuse, talk to your doctor about your concerns or fears before the exam.
No other special preparations are needed before having a Pap test. For your own comfort, you may want to empty your bladder before the exam.
Tell your doctor whether you have had an Reference abnormal Pap test Opens New Window in the past. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test or how it will be done. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 4, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology