If you have had sex a day before a pap smear will it matter?
Q.If you have had sex a day before a pap smear will it matter?
A.Hi there. Thanks for getting in contact with us. Often you will read and see a few recommendations for women prior to having a Pap smear test as follows:
- Avoid douching (washing/cleaning inside the vagina) for 48 hours before the test. In general, douching is not a healthy practice anyway, as it can harm the good bacteria in the vagina which is called lactobacilli, and this bacteria helps maintain a healthy vaginal atmosphere.
- Avoid using vaginal creams/jellies/spermicidal cream for 3 days prior to having a Pap test.
- Avoid vaginal sex 48 hours in advance of your Pap test.
- The best time of the month to have a Pap test is about 5 days after the end of your menstrual period.
- If you think you may have a vaginal infection or STI , it is best to get that tested and treated by a doctor before you book an appointment for a Pap test, as an infection may interfere with the Pap test result.
Although these recommendations exist, in reality the only occasion when a Pap test provider couldn't do a Pap smear is when a woman is on her period, as the blood interferes with the ability to see the cervical cells clearly on the microscopy slide. However most doctors and nurses in Australia have access to a different sample type for cervical screening called "Thin Prep" for cases where blood is present, which means that even when there is some blood present, they can still perform a Pap test. Most doctors and nurses would seize the opportunity to do a Pap smear on a woman, as we know that some women do not like having them and so it is always best to do one when you have the client in front of you as there is no guarantee that they will indeed come back at a later date for one!
In Australia, it is recommended that you have a Pap test every 2 years (sometimes they have to be more frequent if there has been abnormal cells found on previous Pap tests). I have given you some further information for you to read by looking the websites. These will also provide information as to where your nearest PAP test provider is located. If you are sexually active, remember to use a condom every time you have sex to avoid unplanned pregnancy and STIs/BBVs and to get tested for Chlamydia, the most common bacterial STI we see in young people under the age if 25 in Australia. You can get a swab test for that at the same time as your PAP! See the FPV website for more info. Good luck and take care.
Last modified: 31st July 2008