Pain during a smear test
For most people, a smear test shouldn't be painful, but it's normal to find it a bit uncomfortable. Usually the most uncomfortable bit is when the speculum is opened. Having your cervix brushed to remove cells can feel a bit strange, but shouldn't hurt.
To get a sample of these cells, your doctor must scrape the lining of your cervix, which is the opening of your uterus. Because the lining of our cervix is sensitive, the pap test may cause bleeding and some reactivity. Typically, sensitivity or bleeding after a pap smear is light and resolves on its own.
Can I have a smear test when on my period? No, you should postpone your smear test if you are on your period. Blood cells on the sample make it difficult to read the test. It is recommended that you make an appointment one week after your last bleed.
It is recommended that you avoid sex for 24 hours before you have your smear test. Sex can cause the cells that line with your cervix, which are collected during your smear test, to become irritated and inflamed. This can interfere with your test results.
You cannot be tested during your period, so make sure you make an appointment before or after your period is due. If you have bleeding when it should not be happening such as bleeding after sex, between periods or after the menopause, you should see your doctor, even if you have had a recent test.
Getting your smear test results
You'll usually get your results in the post within 2 weeks.
It takes about 10-20 minutes for the whole exam, but only a few minutes for the actual Pap smear. The test is done in your doctor's office or clinic. You'll lie on a table with your feet placed firmly in stirrups. You'll spread your legs, and your doctor will insert a metal or plastic tool (speculum) into your vagina.
It can take as long as three weeks to receive your test results. If your test shows that something might not be normal, your doctor will contact you and figure out how best to follow up. There are many reasons why test results might not be normal.
Breathing deeply can soothe your nerves, so try to focus on your breath. Try to relax your pelvic muscles. It may feel instinctual to squeeze your pelvic muscles when you feel pain or discomfort, but squeezing could add pressure to your pelvic region. Deep breathing may help you relax your muscles.
Avoid sex and don't use a tampon in the two to three days following a Pap smear if you're experiencing bleeding. The additional pressure may cause bleeding to start again or become heavier.
Avoid intercourse, douching, or using any vaginal medicines or spermicidal foams, creams or jellies for two days before having a Pap smear, as these may wash away or obscure abnormal cells. Try not to schedule a Pap smear during your menstrual period.
It's common to feel a little pain after a pap test. In some cases, however, you may experience slight sensations or pelvic discomfort while your doctor extracts cervical cells. Pelvic discomfort is usually temporary and will go away as soon as the pap test is completed.
Pap smear test results typically take four to five days to come back from the lab. In most cases, Pap results are normal. If so, you can expect to have another test in about three years. If your results are abnormal, you will receive a call from our team to set an appointment to confer with Dr.
Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines
Women age 21-65 should get a Pap smear every 3 years beginning at age 21. Women age 30 and older can consider Pap testing every 5 years if the procedure is combined with human papillomavirus (HPV)—a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer.
A Pap smear is very safe, and most people only experience mild cramping during the procedure. Some people experience more intense cramping that is similar to or worse than that during a period. Others may notice that the cramping lasts for 1–2 days after the test. There are typically no other side effects.
Abnormal Pap test results: An abnormal test result may also be called a positive test result. Some of the cells of the cervix look different from the normal cells. An abnormal test result does not mean you have cancer. Your health care provider will recommend monitoring, more testing, or treatment.
Cervical screening (a smear test) checks the health of your cervix. The cervix is the opening to your womb from your vagina. It's not a test for cancer, it's a test to help prevent cancer.
If your cervical smear test shows abnormal cells, you may have a different test to look closely at your cervix. This is called a colposcopy. Sometimes the doctor or nurse doing the test can see that the cells are abnormal. They may offer you treatment to remove these cells during the colposcopy.
“On the day of the smear by all means have a shower or a bath, as it will make you feel more confident and less self-conscious. But there is no need to wash more than you normally would, or use anything other than water and unscented soap. Wear clothing that is quick and easy to take off and on.”
A cervical screening shouldn't affect your menstrual cycle and bring on your period early. However, it's quite common to experience a little bit of bleeding or spotting in the first few hours after you've had your smear. Heavy bleeding after your smear isn't normal. If this happens, you should speak to your GP.
You'll usually stop being invited for screening once you turn 65. This is because it's very unlikely that you'll get cervical cancer. You'll only be invited again if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal.
They will study it under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. It usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks for your cervix to heal after this procedure.